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David Walker's Appeal

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  397 Ratings  ·  29 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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Desera Favors
Dec 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love Walker's Appeal. As one of my students said last week, Walker is both "passionate and pissed off!" Walker is an extremely insightful sociologist and social critic as well as an astute biblical theologian. I happened to watch the movie Get Out the weekend after I read Walker's Appeal, and comparing the two makes for an absolutely fascinating discussion!
Michael Benoit
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A hallmark of Black resistance, Walker's appeal is packed to the brim with raw fury. A must-read in its canon.
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
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-american
"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
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, race, history
Everyone at UVA needs to read this. We're all so proud of our Jeffersonian heritage, but his name should probably evoke just as much shame as it does pride. David Walker draws to our attention some of the vile things that came out of Jefferson's mouth and issues a fiery repudiation of the man's ideas about race and slavery. I am a bit skeptical of some of the things Walker says (for instance, I think his condemnation of the black woman who helped a slave trader survive escape an attack by rebell ...more
Matt Shake
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 06, 2015 rated it liked it
What in interesting and idiosyncratic piece. Organizationally and argumentatively, Walker's Appeal is all over the place, frequently repeating itself and digressing. Yet the Appeal's oddities also contribute to its remarkable originality, and it is uniquely willing to vent unapologetically the brutal hardships and hypocrisies facing African Americans in the early republican period. The anger here is fully, even physically, palpable for the reader.
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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,
Supplemental reading for my African American history class. It was a very interesting read, he doesn't pull any punches and lets everyone have it white or black, rich or poor it doesn't matter. The things he said about what could/would happen in the future if slavery wasn't abolished really hit home, since quite a bit sounds like the issues we are having now.
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Monster Longe
Walker is repetitive. Very, very repetitive. The message was clear, but the execution was carried out in a way that was reflective of his education, which is no fault of his own. Garnet's Address at the end was all that Walker meant to say, which was done concisely and with tact.
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
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jeune Fille
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
". . .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."
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Garnet's Address to the Slaves read.
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, philosophy
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.
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2001
Read for US Intellectual History, Fall 2001.
R.K. Byers
Oct 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Walker was a genius.
This is an amazing polemic. I thoroughly enjoy reading it and agree with much of what he has to say, even a century after slavery ended in the form he is writing about.
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This text may get some people "fired-up" and that is a good thing.
Dec 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: didn-t-finish
True warrior.
Sep 14, 2011 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.
rated it really liked it
Apr 05, 2007
rated it really liked it
Mar 05, 2018
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