David Walker

Born: 1796 - Died: 1830

Childhood/Early Events

David Walker was born in North Carolina in 1796. His mother was a free woman and his enslaved father had died before Walker was born, so he was considered a free man. However, this freedom didn't shelter him from the horrors of slavery. He often witnessed curel and terrible acts, including the time that he watched a son forced to whip his mother until she died. Enraged by these injustices, Walker moved to Boston and set up a used clothing store.

Involvement in Abolition

While in Boston, Walker frequently contributed his writing to Freedom's Journal, the first African American newspaper. In 1829 he published his own Appeal to Colored Citizens of the World, which advocated violence and slave uprising as the only way to abolish slavery once and for all. He relied on sailors to bring his paper down to his target audience, southern slaves. Slaves who read it felt angered and empowered, while slave owners grew frightened by the notion of a violent uprising and subsequently banned all anti-slavery literature.

Significance of Actions

Walker's passionate appeal excited and encouraged many african american slaves to join in the rebellion, while at the same time frightening and unnerving many white slaveowners in the South. He is known as one of the most radical and extreme abolitionists of his generation.