David Walker

Tibor Toth

Biographical Information

David Walker was born in Wilmington, North Carolina in the year either 1796 or 1797. His father was a slave, but fortunately for Walker, his mother was a free African American woman. Because his mother was free, according to state laws, he was free as well. He left Wilmington in between 1815 and 1820. After spending a brief period of time in Charleston, South Carolina, Walker ended up in Boston in 1825. Living in Boston, Walker became the owner of a successful secondhand clothing shop. He was found dead in his home in 1830. Many assumed he was poisoned, but he died from tuberculosis.

Description of Movement

In September 1829, he published "Appeal" a pamphlet that aroused slaves into rebelling against their master. Written for enslaved men and women of the South, the pamphlet inspired slaves and instilled a sense of pride and hope. While working in the secondhand clothing shop in Boston, he would sew copies of "Appeal" into sailors clothing to get his message all around the US. To the right is the cover of the 1830 edition of "Appeal"

Why did he get involved?

Even though Walker was a free man, he witnessed firsthand the injustices of slavery. In one horrifying case, he witnessed a boy forced to whip his mother until she was dead. Even in Boston, a free city during the time, he witnessed prevalent discrimination towards blacks. He felt something needed to be done about these actions.

Was he successful?

Yes, David Walker was successful. Even after his death, his pamphlet inspired slaves across the South
David Walker, the Abolitionist