Geneva Smitherman's contribution to linguistics is immense and profound, and this activity is what she is perhaps most known for in the minds of people in the National Council of Teachers of English and the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Doubtlessly, she is the figure in our profession who has been associated the most over the past three decades with public actions related to Black English, African American Vernacular English, or Ebonics, having been the principal witness for the plaintiffs in the celebrated King case or Black English trial in 1979 and a person who was much consulted during the media frenzy and public hysteria in the aftermath of the Oakland school board's Ebonics Resolution of December 18, 1996. She appeared on CNN, for example, and was featured at a standing-room-only session at the 1996 Linguistic Society of America's annual convention in Chicago. Her book Talkin and Testifyin: The Language of Black America (1977) is widely known and favorably compares with such watershed investigations as J. L. Dillard's Black English (1972) and William Labov's Language in the Inner City (1972). She was also a pivotal player in the framing and adopting of the 1974 CCCC resolution on the students' right to their own language. In addition, Smitherman is a formidable lexicographer as indicated by her Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner (1994a). So her reputation in linguistics is certainly secure, and I think she is most comfortable these days with that disciplinary identity. However, I argue that aesthetic and rhetorical considerations are at least as important as linguistic ones if one is to best understand Smitherman's overall research program and her impact, both realized and potential, as a scholar.