Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Religion & Spirituality
  3. General Religion

Martin Luther King and the Rhetoric of Freedom

See also

Martin Luther King and the Rhetoric of Freedom: The Exodus Narrative in America’s Struggle for Civil Rights


In Martin Luther King and the Rhetoric of Freedom: The Exodus Narrative in America’s Struggle for Civil Rights, author Gary S. Selby embarks upon a detailed analysis of select sermons presented by civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to demonstrate how King (and other civil rights leaders) evoked the “Exodus” narrative to create a sense among the downtrodden and vulnerable African American population, that they were reliving the biblical Exodus in their own day.

In advancing his thesis, Selby contends that the ultimate development and success of the American Civil Rights Movement can be largely attributed to King’s ability to draw upon the tradition of constructing a perspective or framework of reference, from which African American listeners could see themselves, their history, and their present circumstances.

Although Shelby’s offering provided useful analysis of sermons presented by Martin Luther King, Jr., his oversimplification of the King rhetoric, and the process through which he ultimately emerged as a historic figure in a historic movement, inevitably serves to leave a glaring “black hole.” The author’s frequent use of the word “exploit” when referring to King’s words and actions, proves to be the source of contentious consideration.

Selby’s assertion that King “convinced “blacks that they were reenacting the biblical Exodus story, is quite a stretch. Although some African Americans may have related to some aspects of the narrative, it is preposterous to suggest that they functioned during that era, believing that they were reliving the bible.

At times, he appears to paint a portrait of King as some type of master manipulator, attempting to lead the mindless masses into the abyss, utilizing an effective oratory strategy. He appears to attribute King's success to the development of an effective strategy to persuade African Americans. Likewise, the author seems to provide a one dimensional view of the civil rights movement when placing it within the context of the Exodus narrative. In effect, Selby examined a complicated, multi-faceted movement, and attempted to present it solely in terms of black and white.

Visit Bishop Sandra Prewitt:

Preach 2 Me Podcast on iTunes



  • Transgender cop
    A transgender police officer is stepping down from her position to run for office
    Political Office
  • Easter eggs
    Craft delicate, hand-painted eggs with flowers and other designs celebrating spring
    Easter Eggs
  • Subway message
    Subway customer finds 'Big Mama' written on her order
    Subway Message
  • Working from home
    Working from home can be an exciting venture. Get tips to ensure productivity
    Get Tips
  • Limes
    Rising cost of limes could be putting the squeeze on your favorite restaurant
    Expensive Limes
  • Pope Francis
    Religion: Pope Francis instructs how to fight against Satan
    Morning Mass

Related Videos:

  • Divinity infinity
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Geomancy 101.0B:  Generating the figures
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517400319" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518061941" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!