No Future in This Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner (U Mississippi Press, 2020) is a history of the career of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner (1834–1915), specifically focusing on his work from 1896 to 1915. Drawing on the copious amount of material from Turner’s speeches, editorial, and open and private letters, Dr. Andre E. Johnson tells a story of how Turner provided rhetorical leadership during a period in which America defaulted on many of the rights and privileges gained for African Americans during Reconstruction. Unlike many of his contemporaries during this period, Turner did not opt to proclaim an optimistic view of race relations. Instead, Johnson argues that Turner adopted a prophetic persona of a pessimistic prophet who not only spoke truth to power but, in so doing, also challenged and pushed African Americans to believe in themselves.
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Andre E. Johnson, PhD is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies in the Department of Communication and Film and the Scholar in Residence at the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis. Connect on Twitter @aejohnsonphd
Lee M. Pierce, PhD is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric in the Department of Communication at SUNY Geneseo and host of the RhetoricLee Speaking podcast. Connect on Twitter @rhetoriclee