disfranchisement, and the racist treatment they faced daily from Whites. However, these institutions of Black speech and action were not immune from attacks by Whites. White mobs destroyed Black schools, homes, and meeting places during race riots; Black newspaper salesmen were beaten in the streets when selling subscriptions; and fugitive slave laws that facilitated kidnapping of Blacks made public movement dangerous for all African Americans. Although the abolitionist movement provided some spaces for interracial discourse and solidarity, the singlefocus on slavery often left other Black interests off the table, frustrating Blacks who wished to improve the political and social status of free as well as enslaved Blacks. Thus, maintaining separate, safe spaces for blacks to meet and speak was an arduous task, but a necessary one for the development of Black protest and ideologies of self-determination. Black organizations provide places to work out issues and problems outside the view of potentially hostile publics and can be a source of history, pride, or community connections. Enclave spaces and discourses remain relevant even when other responses are more popular or prevalent. The tasks of maintaining culture and group memory are two key enclave functions that support efforts to resist oppression. Without independent spaces to retreat to in times of need or during negotiations with outsiders, marginal groups would not have as much freedom to innovate, draw upon their own traditions, and speak freely without interference from the dominant group. Black publics have continued to foster organizations and expression designed to focus on the needs and possibilities of Black people even as opportunities for wider participation emerged. The continued presence of independent Black media, Black artists’ collectives, Black fraternal organizations, and other “Black-only” spaces and media fulfill functions for Black collectives that mainstream public arenas, institutions, and media have not. Enclave spaces, in a sense, provide a bedrock for marginal publics even when they benefit from increased political rights or friendlier social relations. Counterpublic Spheres As discussed above, the term “counterpublic” is used by many public sphere theorists to describe varied phenomena. Because the term has 459 Communication Theory Table 2. Characteristics of Counterpublics Spaces and discourses protest rhetoric; persuasion; increased interpublic communication and interaction with the state; occupation and reclamation of dominant and state-controlled public spaces; strategic use of enclave spaces Resources Goals more distribution of material and media resources, some gains in legal and political resources; high levels of organization among public foster resistance; test arguments and strategies in wider publics; create alliances; persuade outsiders to change views; perform public resistance to oppressive laws and social codes; gain allies Performance in wider publics revelation of “hidden transcript” and refusal to use “public transcript”; demands for selfdetermination and respect Sanctions Example threat of Civil rights violence, movement disrespect, or 1955–1970 dismissal from dominant publics and state; cooptation of counterpublicity been used to describe a multitude of publics and actions, I believe the term begins to lose its usefulness. The wide and varied usage hinders our ability to distinguish amongst marginal publics and their activities. The model presented here limits the definition of counterpublic to a particular response for a public sphere. If the enclave response is normally deployed in response to conditions of intense oppression, then counterpublics usually emerge in response to a decrease in oppression or an increase in resources. The counterpublic is signified by increased public communication between the marginal and dominant public spheres, both in face-to-face and mediated forms. Counterpublic discourses travel outside of safe, enclave spaces to argue against dominant conceptions of the group and to describe group interests. Counterpublics reject the performance of public transcripts and instead project the hidden transcripts, previously spoken only in enclaves, to dominant publics. Counterpublics test the reactions of wider publics by stating previously hidden opinions, launching persuasive campaigns to change the minds of dominant publics, or seeking solidarity with other marginal groups. The counterpublic is exemplified by the black public spheres that generated the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century. In the 1950s and 1960s, mass public protests—sit-ins, marches, boycotts, voter registration drives, as well as the revaluation of African and Afrocentric arts, physical characteristics, and speech—were all central elements of daily life for a large number of African Americans. This intense, widespread involvement set the tone and agenda for Black politics and discourses. The counterpublic response, one might say, seems to be the optimal choice for a public sphere. However, it may not be prudent at all times 460 Rethinking the Black Public Sphere for all publics. In the case of enslaved Blacks, enclave spaces and hidden transcripts were safer forms of organization and communication.7 Furthermore, even when relatively privileged free Blacks were able to speak, those opportunities were often highly policed and constrained by the dominant White public and the state. The end of slavery did not remove the necessity for clandestine discourse either. For example, in the Deep South, it was not safe for Black Americans to voice negative opinions about their condition in public. Loss of livelihood, rape, psychological trauma, and death were all very real threats constricting their voices. Counterpublics emerged more easily in the cities that were home to tens of thousands of Blacks after the “great migration.” The cities’ combination of better jobs, larger communities, and somewhat less acute legal obstacles provided more opportunities for Blacks to amass resources and create new institutions. Blacks could circulate and discuss more freely the significant social, economic, or legal obstacles that remained, and use their newfound resources to attack the problems. Part of this process was to challenge dominant stereotypes of Blacks and recreate the group’s wider public image to challenge the historical degradation of African American identities by the dominant White public. The new Bl

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