David Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World, published in Boston in 1830, was one of the earliest publications by a black abolitionist, and also one of the most radical and angry. His fiery prose invokes the language of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia to make his case for the immediate abolition of slavery. Walker managed to have many copies of the pamphlet smuggled into the South, where it caused enough anxiety among slave owners to cause them to put a bounty on his head, and prompted Georgians temporarily to suspend the entry of black sailors into their ports.
But who was David Walker? He was a free black man born in Wilmington, North Carolina, to a free mother and enslaved father, in 1795 or 1796. In his early adulthood, he moved to Charleston, South Carolina, then made his way northward, first living briefly in Philadelphia, and then settling in Boston in 1825. It was there that he composed his renowned pamphlet. You can read more about Walker here (a pretty decent Wikipedia entry), as well as an interesting entry from an online encyclopedia of North Carolina history, and another good piece from the Virginia State Archives. He died not long after the publication of the pamphlet, in June 1830, the official record stating that he died of tuberculosis, although their have been many claims that he was poisoned.
In this web comment, chose one or two paragraphs from the Appeal from the excerpts here. Read them over carefully, and then in your web comment, note which paragraph you are looking at and then summarize briefly what point Walker is making in that paragraph. In addition, analyze how Walker is making his point: What strategies is he using? Is his argument persuasive? What sort of emotional response does the paragraph elicit in the reader? Your comment should be about two paragraphs in length.