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What did David Walker’s Appeal represent in African American History?

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jakande | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted July 31, 2013 at 1:45 AM via web

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What did David Walker’s Appeal represent in African American History?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 31, 2013 at 2:01 AM (Answer #1)

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In the time period of America in the 19th Century, the slave narratives were becoming increasingly evident.  The discourse about slavery and its moral and political legitimacy were being questioned.  Walker's Appeal emerges within this context as a significant statement for both American History and African- American History.

In terms of what Walker's Appeal comes to represent in African- American History, the unquestioned call for change is one of its most significant elements.  Walker's work does not equivocate in its basic premises.  Slavery was morally and politically wrong.  White Americans who perpetuate it are engaged in evil, and if this continues, African- Americans have no other choice but to take action to end such an evil condition:

I am awfully afraid that pride, prejudice, avarice and blood, will, before long prove the final ruin of this . . . land of liberty!!!! . . . Oh [white] Americans! Americans!! I warn you in the name of the Lord . . . to repent and reform, or you are ruined!   

In the context of African- American History, Walker's Appealwas a call to change.  When Walker's work was decried and criticized, African- Americans took to it with even more fervor until Walker's] words were stamped in letters of fire upon our soul."  In representing African- American history, Walker's words were a powerful statement against the ruling condition.  They represented a moment where submission and compliance were set aside in place of resistance and challenge to a moral and political evil.  In this light, Walker's Appealoccupies central importance and relevance.

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