* NOTE – I posted this Lesson in Black History last year, but people either missed it or forgot. As a result, I got several requests to write something about David Walker, so I’m re-posting this one.

DAVID WALKER – Not to be confused with yours truly, this other David Walker, with whom I proudly share a name, was the legendary abolitionist born in North Carolina on September 28, 1785. The son of a slave father and a free mother, Walker was not a slave, but still witnessed the life of slavery. He traveled throughout the country, eventually settling in Boston. In 1829 he wrote and published Walker’s Appeal, a scathing commentary on slavery and racism in America that ignited great controversy and earned the label of sedition. Among other things, Walker advocated violence as a means to end slavery, even if it meant death. A price was placed on Walker’s head by those that supported slavery ($10,000 alive, $1,000 dead). Southern states banned the seventy-six page pamphlet, and possession of Walker’s Appeal by blacks was often met with violence or jail. Despite efforts to suppress the publication, it was heavily distributed throughout northern cities, and smuggled throughout the south. Walker was found dead under mysterious circumstances on the doorstep of his home in 1830, at the age of 44. Towards the end of Walker’s Appeal, he wrote, “If any are anxious to ascertain who I am, know the world, that I am one of the oppressed, degraded and wretched sons of Africa, rendered so by the avaricious and unmerciful, among the whites.”


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