John Llewellyn is a scholar of rhetoric whose work includes analyzing persuasive language from the nation’s most prominent politicians, coaches and civil rights leaders. A former speechwriter and public information officer, Llewellyn also specializes in crisis communication, having studied the intersection of politics and public relations for nearly 30 years.
He has published on corporate social responsibility, organizational ethics, and public attention and political reputation. A frequent contributor to media outlets, Llewellyn recently authored a chapter on writing op-eds in an upcoming book, Popularizing Research, and has been certified as an expert witness by federal courts on the issue of public relations and urban legends.
At Wake Forest, Llewellyn has had the privilege of teaching first-year and graduate students alike. In fact, a student in Llewellyn’s first-year seminar on great American speeches was the first to recognize parallels between Martin Luther King Jr.’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 and one King delivered in 1944 at a Georgia Black Elks oratorical contest when he was just a schoolboy of 15 years. Scholars overlooked this historic connection for nearly 50 years until Llewellyn brought it to life in conjunction with the dedication of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. national memorial.
Areas of Expertise (5)
University of Texas at Austin: Ph.D. , Communication 1990
Media Appearances (5)
Latest national punch line: North Carolina
The Charlotte Observer
John Llewellyn, an associate professor of communications at Wake Forest University, says the new North Carolina law is a typical political calculation aimed at stirring up the conservative base. Making fun of the governor isn’t going to change those minds. “The people this was done to appeal to are not great devotees of satire,” Llewellyn said, “even if it winds up on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and everybody gets all enthused about how easy it is to ridicule. Even if Lionsgate (studio) takes a hike and all the college professor smarties ridicule McCrory and his gang, they’re not going to vote for him anyway.”
Latest national punchline: North Carolina
John Llewellyn, an associate professor of communication, says the new North Carolina law (HB2) is a typical political calculation aimed at stirring up the conservative base. Making fun of the governor isn’t going to change those minds. “The people this was done to appeal to are not great devotees of satire,” Llewellyn said, “even if it winds up on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and everybody gets all enthused about how easy it is to ridicule. Even if Lionsgate (studio) takes a hike and all the college professor smarties ridicule [Gov. Pat] McCrory and his gang, they’re not going to vote for him anyway.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. tested 'Dream' speech as a teen
At the age of 15, Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered a speech that researchers say was remarkably similar to his legendary “I Have a Dream” national address delivered nearly 20 years later on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Both speeches shared the same underlying themes, principles and mental imagery, according to Wake Forest University communication professor John Llewellyn and one of his former students, William Murphy. “The parallels between the speeches are so striking,” Llewellyn explained. “Brotherly love, nonviolence and freedom from racial hatred are all contained in his 1944 speech. He even described scenes of black and white children playing together in harmony – famously echoed in the ‘Dream’ speech.”
Listen to the first recording of MLK's 'I Have A Dream' in Rocky Mount in 1962 [AUDIO]
The speech in Rocky Mount is the first recorded evidence of King's "I Have a Dream." However, John Llewellyn, communications professor at Wake Forest University, and William Murphy, a recent WFU graduate, have identified strong parallels between King's famous speech and another he gave as a 15-year-old high school student...
Dean Smith: Innovation and commitment
The Huffington Post
Legendary North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith died Saturday at age 83. Tributes have poured in acknowledging his two national championships, 95 percent graduation rate, and the enduring loyalty between coach and players across the decades. The simple explanation for the success of the “Carolina Way” is Dean Smith’s ability to inspire commitment—everyone bought in and played for one another. Why did Carolina enjoy such loyalty and success? Coach Vince Lombardi, the Green Bay Packers icon, defined the central trait of great coaching and formidable teams: “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”