Chapter 6: Resisting Slavery

David Walker was born a freeman in Wilmington, North Carolina.  He eventually settled in Boston and began to speak out and write against slavery and racism.  His 76-page Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World greatly alarmed the South.  A bounty was put on his head shortly after it was published.  Many Northern abolitionists also had mixed feelings about its call for revolution against slavery and slave-owners. 

Here are some excerpts:

“They think because they hold us in their infernal chains of slavery, that we wish to be white, or of their color – but they are dreadfully deceived – we wish to be just as it pleased our Creator to have made us, and no avaricious and unmerciful wretches have any business to make slaves of, or hold us in slavery… If you commence, make sure work- do not trifle, for they will not trifle with – they want us for their slaves, and think nothing of murdering us in order to subject use to that wretched condition - therefore, if there is an attempt made on us, kill or be killed … Believe this, that it is no more harm for you to kill a man, who is trying to kill you, then it is for you to take drink of water when thirsty…

“Wo, Wo, will be to you if we have to obtain our freedom by fighting. Throw away your fears and prejudices then, and enlighten us and treat us like men, and we will like you more than we do now hate you, and tell us no more about colonization, for 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 together.  For we are not like you, hard hearted, unmerciful, and unforgiving. What a happy country this will be, if the whites will listen… Treat us then like men, and we will be your friends. And there is not a doubt in my mind, but that the whole of the past will be sunk into oblivion, and we yet, under God, will become a united and happy people. The whites may say it is impossible, but remember that nothing is impossible with God.” - David Walker, Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World (1829)

You are the editor of a newspaper in Boston, Massachusetts or Atlanta, Georgia. Write an editorial either supporting or opposing Walker's Appeal

To find out more about David Walker and his Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World:

Copyright 2006, ACLU of Massachusetts