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David Walker's Appeal

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  214 ratings  ·  21 reviews
David Walker's Appeal is a landmark work of American history and letters, the most radical piece of writing by an African American in the nineteenth century. Startling in its intensity, unrelenting in its attacks on slavery and white racism, it alarmed Southern slaveholders, inspired Northern abolitionists, and hastened the sectional conflicts that led to the Civil War. In...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published April 30th 1995 by Hill and Wang (first published January 1st 1829)
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Michael Strode
David Walker's Appeal opens with an impassioned examination of the Black condition in America driving slow and painstakingly towards a radical crescendo at the close of the fourth article. Upon first glance, the Appeal seems to exhibit one the earliest written examples of the classical Negro sermon invoking the tools of emotional petition, scriptural analogy and historical scrutiny in outlining the core narrative. Through further revisions to the text, Walker was able to expand upon the original...more
Lanier
Clever, rebellious early 19th Century text written by a Bostonian journalist/tailor who would sew copies of protest articles within clothing shipped to slave states. Walker didn't live very long, but this relatively little-known pamphlet awoke many sympathetic parties to the abolitionist movement's potential for extreme violence. Similar to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s incredible “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” which utilized religious fervor and rhetoric as the crux to dispelling and combating his...more
Desera Favors
I believe this book expresses & reflects the essence of a Black Nationalistic Revolutionary! If you believe that we have progressed since captivity you may want to read this book! If you believe that we should forgive and forget you may want to pick up this book! If you have faith in the system and consider reform our only true hope, you have to get this book! If you feel that protesting, boycotting, sit-in’s, lock-in's, and demonstrations are the way to being heard, this book is for you! To...more
Jonathan
A remarkable book. David Walker's text is every bit as inflammatory and seditious as white Americans charged. It advocates what we can easily recognize as an early form of black nationalism, and it urges American blacks to be ready to come to the aid of a "new Hannibal" when one arises to visit divine judgment on America. It's no wonder that Southern states suppressed it ruthlessly -- and that even northern abolitionists condemned it. The pamphlet is also beautifully written in the style of a se...more
Sean
Since this is more a historical document, it is not something that should be rated. Would I rate the Declaration of Independence? Anything less than five stars might seem "Un-American" or "socialisty." If I were to judge it, I wouldn't use a five-star system which is based on how much I enjoyed it.

That said, I think David Walker's Appeal is a very important document, one which is often unfairly ignored in school curricula. It is not the most cogent piece of writing I've read, but at the very lea...more
Eddie
"We must and shall be free I say, in spite of you." (pg. 89)

Compelling; probably even more so to the readers of early 19th century. Imagine David Walker, born a free black man, wrote the first edition of his Appeal in 1829 blistering slavery protagonists as he states his case in four Articles:

Article I: Our Wretchedness In Consequence Of Slavery - Walker takes on Thomas Jefferson and his book Notes on the State of Virginia; refuting Jefferson's notion that blacks are inferior to whites. Walker...more
Jeune Fille
". . .they want us for their slaves, and think nothing of murdering us. . . therefore, if there is an attempt made by us, kill or be killed. . . and believe this, that it is no more harm for you to kill a man who is trying to kill you, than it is for you to take a drink of water when thirsty."
Matt Shake
This provocative pamphlet is one of the most revolutionary pieces of literature in America that nobody in contemporary society remembers! Walker was a free black who wrote this pamphlet in 1829 with the express objective of fomenting a slave rebellion in the South. He and his allies tirelessly worked the Underground to distribute this book (as Southern politicians worked to block it's sale there). Never have I read such an impassioned and explosive plea for freedom. His calls for the blood of sl...more
Romina
Should also be known as "Thomas Jefferson, A Smack Down." Love it. Walker's anger and rage towards the racist U.S. system and calling out Jefferson's hypocrisy is wonderful. I think comparing Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks with this document would be really interesting and thought provoking. However, the author emphasizes a religious and anti-Catholic element I cannot totally dig.
Ellies
David Walker tells of his most radical dealings as a slave. David Walker lived 1785-1830
The complete title is actually David Walker's Appeal, in Four Articles; Together with a Preamble, to the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in Particular, and Very Expressly, to Those of the United States of America, Written in Boston, State of Massachusetts, September 28, 1829.
Boston: David Walker, 1830. A must read for black historians,
Chris brown
in many ways it wasn't what I thought it would be, his fire and conviction is present throughout. He truly was a God fearing man that only feared God & wanted liberation for the people & was willing to do what needed to be done to attain that freedom.
Stephen Bess
David Walker's appealing and polemic pamphlet could, in many ways, apply to modern times but more in the sense of self reflection. There is a different type of bondage and oppression that is afflicting the American public.
Olde
excellent book. haven't read it in some time but the satire is clear and to the point. it goes well when read along side with UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. highly recommended for anyone concerned with how to define and defend justice.
Matt
Some inspired rhetoric for sure, and Walker's complaint was just - but there is way too much demagoguery, race-baiting, and religious fervor here for me to endorse. Spartacus he wasn't.
Kim
Sep 14, 2011 Kim added it
I don't feel right rating a historical, political document. So no stars on this one means more of a 'no comment'. I just want to acknowledge Walker's courage in writing this pamphlet.
Angel
This is a must read for anyone who is serious about Civil War History. It's the most persuasive,contemporaneous argument against slavery I've ever read.
jeanette
This text may get some people "fired-up" and that is a good thing.
Carlodelarosa
A response to Thomas Jefferson's racism.
Shannon
Read for US Intellectual History, Fall 2001.
RK Byers
Walker was a genius.
Kayenne
True warrior.
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