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Walker, David. David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World. University Park. 2000. Penn State University Press. 9780271019949. Edited, with an introduction and annotations by Peter P. Hinks. 5 x 8.5. 2 illustrations. 184 pages. paperback.

 

9780271019949FROM THE PUBLISHER -

In 1829 David Walker, a free black born in Wilmington, North Carolina, wrote one of America’s most provocative politicaldocuments of the nineteenth century, Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World. Decrying the savage and unchristian treatment blacks suffered in the United States, Walker challenged his 'afflicted and slumbering brethren' to rise up and cast off their chains. Walker worked tirelessly to circulate his book via underground networks in the South, and he was so successful that Southern lawmakers responded with new laws cracking down on 'incendiary' antislavery material. Although Walker died in 1830, the Appeal remained a rallying point for African Americans for many years to come, anticipating the radicalism of later black leaders, from Malcolm X to Martin Luther King, Jr. In this new edition of the Appeal, the first in over thirty years, Peter P. Hinks, the leading authority on David Walker, provides a masterly introduction and extensive annotations that incorporate the most up-to-date research on Walker, much of it first reported by Hinks in his highly acclaimed biography, To Awaken My Afflicted Brethren. Hinks also includes a unique appendix of documents showing the contemporary response—from North and South, black and white—to the Walker David Appeal itself and Walker’s attempts to distribute it in the South. Historians and political activists have long recognized the importance of Walker’s Appeal. At last we have an edition worthy of its persuasive immediacy and its enduring place in American history.

 

David Walker (September 28, 1796 – August 6, 1830) was an American abolitionist, writer, and anti-slavery activist. Though his father was enslaved, his mother was free; therefore, he was free as well (partus sequitur ventrem). In 1829, while living in Boston, Massachusetts, with the assistance of the African Grand Lodge (later named Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts), he published An Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World, a call for black unity and a fight against slavery. The appeal brought attention to the abuses and inequities of slavery and the responsibility of individuals to act according to religious and political principles. At the time, some people were aghast and fearful of the reaction that the pamphlet would provoke. Southern citizens were particularly upset with Walker's viewpoints and as a result there were laws banning circulation of "seditious publications" and North Carolina "legislature enacted the most repressive measures ever passed in North Carolina to control slaves and free blacks." Historians and liberation theologians cite the Appeal as an influential political and social document of the 19th century. Walker exerted a radicalizing influence on the abolitionist movements of his day and inspired future black leaders and activists. His son, Edward G. Walker, was an attorney and in 1866 was one of the first two black men elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature. Peter P. Hinks teaches history and African American Studies at Yale University. He is the author of To Awaken My Afflicted Brethren: David Walker and the Problem of Antebellum Slave Resistance (Penn State, 1997), which was named a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book for 1998.

 

 

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