"If any are anxious to ascertain who I am," writes David Walker near the end of his Appeal, "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." Born near the end of the eighteenth century in North Carolina as a freed person of color, by the mid-1820s Walker had moved to Boston. It was there that he wrote this book; first published in 1829, it is one of the earliest African American authored protests against slavery and racism. Despite his title, throughout he addresses himself often to white readers, hoping to change their hearts and acts: "America is as much our country, as it is yours.--Treat us like men, and there is no danger but we will all live in peace and happiness." He intended his exhortation, though, mainly for black readers, hoping to arouse them to claim their human rights: "Oh! my coloured brethren, all over the world, when shall we arise from this death-like apathy?--And be men!!"
Before his death in 1830, Walker worked to circulate his Appeal to blacks in both the North and the South. Copies found in the possession of slaves led to stronger laws against teaching slaves to read and distributing inflammatory writing in a number of southern states.
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.
Third and Last Edition, with Additional Notes, Corrections, &c.
Boston: Revised and Published by David Walker, 1830.