David Walker - David Walker's Appeal: To the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in particular, and very expressly, to those of the United States of America

David Walker was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, to a free mother and an enslaved father. Some sources date his birth to 1785 while others suggest that 1796 is more likely. Walker was an outspoken black abolitionist, and he put his fiery thoughts to paper in his famous Appeal (1829). Walker targeted his emotional tract most specifically to free black northerners and southern slaves, but he also addressed northern whites and slave masters who would likely read the subversive pamphlet out of curiosity. Walker pushed for immediate emancipation rather than the gradualist approaches or colonization schemes of white anti-slavery groups such as the North Carolina Manumission Society. Walker saved his most incendiary rhetoric, however, for his southern audience. He urged slaves to rebel en masse, posing the question: "had you not rather be killed than to be slave to a tyrant?" (p. 30). Walker's publication terrified already paranoid white masters, and about them Walker notes "if they do not have enough to be frightened for yet, it will be" (p. 37).


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