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Description

This is a digitally reconstructed edition of David Walker’s inflammatory and influential antislavery pamphlet. It provides an online, text-based and textually reliable copy that recreates the form and presentation of the 1830 edition. This version captures the look and feel of Walker’s original self-publication and represents the work as it might have appeared fresh from the printer.

Walker’s Appeal ... is a radical antislavery and antiracist manifesto by a free American of African ancestry. Its bold denunciation of European culture was unprecedented, unrestrained, and startling, viz.:

“The whites have always been an unjust, jealous, unmerciful, avaricious and blood-thirsty set of beings, always seeking after power and authority.”

Walker attacks the slave system and its rampant racism from the viewpoint of America’s allegiance to the idea of freedom; he quotes the Declaration of Independence at length, and strikes a recognizably jeremiad note:

“O Americans! Americans!! I call God—I call angels— I call men, to witness, that your destruction is at hand, and will be speedily consummated unless you REPENT.”

The Appeal’s targets include Southern slaveholders, their political protectors, Christian ministers who deny the lessons of the Gospel to Africans, and the efforts to resettle (i.e., deport) free and freed Negroes back to Africa. Two hundred years after enslaved Africans were first brought to North America, Walker’s Appeal announced a new phase of resistance and struggle. Considered too radical by many who sympathized with abolition, it casts a beam of insightful courage across the centuries since—speaking truth to power, and chiding modern Americans over how much of its indictment still obtains.

Publication Date

1830

Publisher

David Walker

City

Boston

Disciplines

African American Studies | African History | American Studies | European History | Political History | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social History | United States History

Comments

This work is in the public domain.