David Walker's Appeal

David Walker's Appeal

by David Walker
     
 

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Walker's Appeal represents one of the earliest African-centered discourses on an oppressed people's right to freedom. African American political philosophy has evolved from many of the themes that it articulates. Order David Walker's Appeal here.

Overview


Walker's Appeal represents one of the earliest African-centered discourses on an oppressed people's right to freedom. African American political philosophy has evolved from many of the themes that it articulates. Order David Walker's Appeal here.

Editorial Reviews

Sacred Fire
Self-published in 1829 and distributed to slaves throughout southern plantations through ingenious methods, Walker's Appeal caused a firestorm reaction among southern slaveholders. The subversive intent of Appeal which called for violent resistance against slavery, made Walker a marked man. His appeal to resistance was not rooted solely in retribution. Walker based his arguments on biblical and historical examples of resistance. He was truly committed to social change but keenly aware of the radical means required to achieve it. Walker's Appeal can be said to be an early African American precursor to Malcolm's By Any Means Necessary or The Ballot or the Bullet—a fearless cry for freedom, by any means necessary.

But while Appeal's fame rests on its militancy, Walker was not a simple bomb-throwing revolutionary. Like Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, and innumerable other African American activists who would follow, Walker firmly believed in and based his arguments on the same principles that white Americans so righteously claimed: those found in the Bible and in the U.S. Constitution. But Walker was a realist; he held out faint hope that white Americans would, on their own, ever hold to the principles of their sacred and civic scriptures. Walker also showed his thoughtfulness by providing in his Appeal a program for the development of his people after the abolition of slavery.

Unfortunately, what "appealed" most to the authorities of the time was Walker's death. A price was put on his head and he was found dead in June of 1830, an apparent victim of poison. Still, upon reading Walker's Appeal, the white aristocracy was put on notice—the days of the slaver were numbered. Less than a year and a half after the publication of Walker's work, Nat Turner's rebellion demonstrated in action the commitment to liberation that Walker articulated with such fire in his Appeal.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781507868553
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
02/06/2015
Pages:
86
Sales rank:
862,779
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.18(d)

Meet the Author

David Walker was born in or near Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of a slave father and a free black mother (thus, under the laws of slavery, he was born free). the year of his birth is uncertain, although the most convincing recent research contends that it was 1796 or 1797. By his own account in the Appeal, Walker left Wilmington as a young man and wandered around the United States, residing for an unspecified period in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1825, he turned up as a used-clothes dealer in Boston, where he would spend the rest of his abbreviated life. He died suddenly in 1830.

Sean Wilentz is the Cotsen Fellow and professor of history at Princeton University. His books include Chants Democratic and, with Paul E. Johnson, The Kingdom of Matthias.

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