Customer Reviews

14
5 star
86%
4 star
14%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
David Walker's Appeal
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$8.95+Free shipping with Amazon Prime

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
David Walker was born in the late 1700s, in the newly-formed nation of the United States, shortly after ratification of the Constitution, into a society which on the one hand was celebrating a victory for freedom from oppression, but which also was still oppressive of a significant number of its own people.

Walker grew impatient with the pace and tone of the Abolitionist movement, of which he was a part, beginning in New England. Slave rebellions such as that of Denmark Vesey seemed to be an answer to the slowness. Injustice was being committed at this very moment -- action was therefore required immediately. This was the tone with which Walker's 'Appeal' was infused. His message was rather shocking to white Americans, and Walker found ways to reach his own people in the South with this message. Vesey and others had used religious meetings as a means of gathering and organising; likewise, they found the Bible rich in material to support their cause. Walker did likewise, seizing upon biblical ideas of deliverance and justice.

Walker found himself becoming unpopular for his outspoken views. Many in the Abolitionist movement purposefully discouraged talk of rebellion, lawbreaking and violence. However, Walker was not convinced that this kind of change was the best in the situation -- he felt strongly that the Black people had to unite and fight, with the full support of God.

Walker further was mistrustful of white people's effort on the behalf of blacks, and doubtful that Southern white men would ever be willing to give up their position of power. Walker noted that even men like Jefferson believed in the racial idea of white superiority. Even in those placed where African-Americans would live as 'free' persons, they seemed forever destined to be in the eyes of the white majority second-class citizens. This to Walker clearly was not right. 'Are we men!! - I ask you, O my brethren! are we men? Did our Creator make us to be slaves to dust and ashes like ourselves?'

Walker began to view whites as the only Americans. He felt the sins of racism and slavery were so intrinsically American that it would be a contradiction for any black person to be an American. This racist sin permeated even through to the churches, which Walker held in contempt for their seeming complacency in the face of on-going injustice.

And yet, one of the key elements throughout Walker's 'Appeal', for all its radical viewpoints, which no other Abolitionists seemed to have picked up after Walker's death in 1830, is hope. 'I verily believe that God has something in reserve for us, which, when he shall have poured it out upon us, will repay us for all our suffering and miseries.' Walker had no qualms about allowing that he wanted to destroy the status quo in society; however, he was not an advocate of wanton violence and bloodshed. He said that is was incorrect to assume that he was asking for civil war of any kind, but that he was simply asking for basic human rights to be enforced for all people.

This calls for rights and justice, the very basic call to recognise the humanity in all people, is a primary element of Walker's 'Appeal'. The time to rise up and take back humanity which had been stripped away by the white slave traders was, to Walker, clearly at hand.

Like the biblical prophets, Walker understood that what he was doing was dangerous. However, Walker saw his writing as a call from God, a call that could not be put away. The call to justice, the call to right the wrongs in society, the call to action against an evil oppressor, are reminiscent of the Hebrew prophets.

Although Walker's call and prophecy never took the shape he himself might have imagined it, his words inspired many and discomfited more. Some forms of injustice take many voices, many martyrs, before they are addressed. Walker was one of these.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2002
Intelligent, honest, straightforward, this book actually came close to bringing tears to my eyes on several occasions. Mr. Walker, while a religious man, confirmed a lot of the things I prepondered were true about america. There is nothing "MILITANT" about this book- He candidly points out the EVIL he was exposed to in this country and some of the horrors he witnessed himself. Here are a few quotes
"America is more our country, than it is the whites-we have enriched it with our blood and tears. The greatest riches in all America have arisen from our blood and tears: -- and will they drive us from our property and homes, which we have earned with our blood? They must look sharp or this very thing will bring swift destruction upon them. The Americans have got so fat on our blood and groans, that they have almost forgotten the God of armies. But let the go on."
"Do they think to drive us from our country and homes, after having enriched it with our blood and tears, and keep back millions of our dear brethren, sunk in the most barbarous wretchedness, to dig up gold and silver for them and their children? Surely, the Americans must think that we are brutes, as some of them have represented us to be."
He goes on with ACTUAL MURDERS in Boston- one in the Boston Street Church where an African-american male was murdered. YEs, inside of a Church. To all African-americans, you MUST read this book. He cared. He witnesses the horrible murder and crimes of those people, right around the time of their "great forefathers" LOL. Published 1829.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon February 3, 2001
"David Walker's Appeal" was one of the most extraordinary documents of the 19th century United States. The author, David Walker, was a free black man who used this tract to expose and denounce racism. Walker published 3 editions of the pamphlet from 1829 to 1830, the year he was found dead--possibly the victim of a political assassination. The Black Classics Press edition contains an informative introduction by James Turner.
The "Appeal" contains a preamble and four "Articles." Each of the Articles targets a phenomenon that contributes to the oppression of African Americans: slavery, ignorance, the "Preachers of the Religion of Jesus Christ," and the "Colonizing Plan."
Walker's tone is bold, but at times he sounds frenzied, even maniacal. In his more outraged moments, he sounds like a 19th century religious fanatic. Consider this statement from Article III: "O Americans! Americans!! I call God--I call angels--I call men, to witness, that your DESTRUCTION is at hand, and will be speedily consummated unless you REPENT." But if you can read such outbursts in context, you will find the book as a whole to be an incisive, intelligent analysis of a racist societal superstructure.
Particularly important is Walker's harsh condemnation of white Christian preachers and institutions who promoted the oppression of black people. Walker reminds us that the "status quo" forces in American Christianity were key pillars of white supremacy. Overall, "David Walker's Appeal" is a crucial document which deserves a wide contemporary audience.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2010
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 (Penguin Classics); refuting Jefferson's notion that blacks are inferior to whites. Walker also offers that the treatment of the Israelites under the Egyptian Pharaohs as being far better than the treatment of blacks under whites.

Article II: Our Wretchedness In Consequence Of Ignorance - Walker is concerned about how blacks remain oppressed due to ignorance and mis-education and how this strategy, championed by the slave master, has allowed slavery to endure. The thought of an educated black man strikes fear in the heart of the white slave master but it's only through education and enlightenment can one envision freedom and break the bonds of slavery.

Article III: Our Wretchedness In Consequence Of The Preachers Of The Religion Of Jesus Christ - Walker warns that enslavers will one day be called to judgment: "What right, then, has one of us to despise another, and to treat him cruel, on account of his colour, which none, but God who made can alter."

Article IV: Our Wretchedness In Consequence Of The Colonizing Plan - Walker derides Henry Clay's Colonizing Plan, a scheme to return free blacks to Africa to a supposedly greater freedom while keeping the enslaved blacks in America.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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 thesis to form the ideological framework of Black liberation theology, social theory and nationalist discourse with consideration towards both freedmen and enslaved Blacks.

The Preamble of Walker's Appeal provides an intriguing context for the rise and influence of Black liberation theology where the theological construct exists as the last bastion of "free" intellectual inquiry available to those held in slavery. Walker mines the potentiality of biblical scripture in order to establish his case for the abolition of slavery through moral suasion, Pan-African struggle and armed resistance when necessary. For sewing these seeds of discord, Walker would find himself revered amongst enslaved Blacks and radical abolitionists, reviled amongst whites and slaveowners, held afar by moderate whites and Blacks alike who considered his approach too extreme and later murdered near his shop only a year from the publication of the manuscript.

Walker divided his appeal into four distinct areas of discourse following the Preamble which considered the effects of Slavery, Ignorance, Religion and Colonization upon the minds of Black people. He used each of these areas to display how the historical treatment of Blacks in America was mired in moral, social and political hypocrisy which should prevent us from thinking naively that we could hope for a fairer treatment in the future than we had been afforded in the past. While he fiercely refuted the efforts to colonize members of the free Black community in the African nation of Liberia, he displayed a particularly warm kinship for the recently liberated island nation of Haiti whose inspiration he drew upon in outlining his impression of what steps could be taken in America to secure freedom for all Black people.

While some concepts in the Appeal leave themselves open to misinterpretation in a modern context such as Walker's own fondness for the English whom he considered friends of the Negro, there are areas here which remain ripe for exploration in understanding the course of events which culminated in ending slavery. The Appeal was quite masterful at fomenting radical discourse when it was published in 1829 and taken together with the rebellion of Nat Turner in 1831 most certainly struck an alarming chord in states which had continued the practice of slavery. The Appeal was outlawed and at least one legislature, Georgia, placed a bounty upon Walker's head. It still managed to circulate widely through underground networks of abolitionists, freedmen societies, churches and maroon communities.

As we stand in the aftermath of cases in Arizona, Texas and Tennessee on the cusp of seeing the necessity for the return of outlaw education, let us take a lesson from David Walker in thinking dangerously and writing fearlessly about the oppressive systems which continue to impact our quality of life in this day and the overlapping alliances we must forge in order to break them apart permanently.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2008
David Walker Appeal

"Some of my bretheren don't know who Pharoah and Egyptians were. I know it to be a fact that some of them take the Egyptians to have been a gang of devils, not knowing any better, and that they (Egyptians) having got possession of the Lord's people treated them nearly as cruel as Christian Americans do us, at the present day. For the information of such, I would only mention that the Egyptians, were Africans or coloured people, such as we are - some of them yellow and others dark - a mixture of Ethiopian and natives of Egypt - about the same as you see the coloured people of the United States at the present day."

"The English are the best friends the coloured people have upon earth though they have oppressed us a little and have colonies now in the West Indies, which oppress us sorely. Yet notwithstanding they (the English) have done one hundred more for the melioration of our condition, than all other nations of these earth put together. The Blacks cannot but respect the English as a nation, not withstanding they have treated us a little cruel."

When I read this passage, I was like "what in the hell is he talking about!" I must remind myself of the world in which he lived, and he probably had to kiss a little butt, though he did let the truth be known by saying "a little cruel." What is a little cruel?

I would encourage everyone to read, though I did not appreciate Sean Wilentz's introduction. I found his words to be annoying, laced with subtle racism. I would suggest ignoring his writing completely and go to the real text of David Walker.

I give Mr. Walkers Appeal 5 star. It took incredible courage as a black man in 1829 to write these words, though he died suddenly and mysteriously. I am sure he was poisoned.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2011
Given the historical timeframe surrounding these writing - the founding of the nation and the expansion of slavery in the country, David Walker's Appeal reflects the mind of a man, who was highly educated in the classics and in the Christian faith. His passion for the liberation of slaves is evident, and his prophecy of imminent judgment for their enslavement is clear. I believe that the thoughts contained in these writings have profoundly influenced protest among African Americans since that time. I find that David Walker's Appeal is both historic in its message of freedom for the slaves, and prophetic in the coming judgment of the nation as a result of the enslavement of his fellow African Americans. I believe that these writings are critical to a proper understanding of American history.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2015
This is a long and very powerful essay that hits with blow after blow. It is a classic in the field of human, civil rights and freedom. You may not agree with everything he wrote. After all, he was a man of his time too, just like the oppressors society seems very willing to excuse for that reason. But, this is a clarion call with no censor, no hesitation, no sparing of any group - especially including his own. Though it could have used some editing and there are parts you may find tedious as a modern reader, it is one of the best books I've read in its genre. I wish it were better known.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Wow! As with many other books I have had the pleasure to read, I can surely say this book changes the conception that African Americans wasn't intellected enough to challenge the system of slavery.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 1999
An early and powerful indictment of racism. One can feel the anger of the author as he relates what white men committed in the name of greed, patriarchy, and race hatred. As a feminist who is also a white woman, I side completely with African Americans who are combatting the continuous tide of racism in this country, which the author singles out in his discourse. An absolutely extraordinary book, one that needs to be read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World
David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World by Peter P. Hinks (Paperback - April 19, 2000)
$18.00

David Walker's Appeal: To the Coloured Citizens of the World
David Walker's Appeal: To the Coloured Citizens of the World by David Walker (Paperback - April 14, 2014)
$7.95

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Dover Thrift Editions)
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Dover Thrift Editions) by Harriet Jacobs (Paperback - November 9, 2001)
$4.00
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.