Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Deborah Smith-Howell


This study examines Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March address delivered on October 16, 1995, in Washington, D.C. The address was analyzed to discover how Farrakhan responded to an historically significant and controversial rhetorical situation and to determine how race can be discussed in America. Farrakhan's address was analyzed through an application of Hart's (1990) model of the rhetorical situation. The elements of speaker, setting, audience, topic, and persuasive field were found to have a significant impact on what Farrakhan said during his address. Despite Farrakhan's explicit statements to the contrary, analysis of the address revealed an attempt by Farrakhan to increase his legitimacy with African Americans beyond his audience of traditional appeal. His criticism of whites during the address, however, called into question his desire to bridge the racial divide between blacks and whites. The analysis concluded it is unlikely Farrakhan or any other figure will be received as a nationally respected leader by large numbers of both races unless he or she speaks to the anger, fears, and frustrations of both whites and blacks.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master in Communication Univeristy of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1996, Martin Andrew Bartness