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David Walker in Abolitionists

David Walker (c.1796-1830) was a free black man, a self-taught clothes dealer, a radical abolitionist, a devout Christian, and a writer who published his self-titled David Walker's Appeal in 1829. Walker was harshly criticized by some white abolitionists who wanted a gradual emancipation and who feared that his radicalism would hurt the antislavery movement as a whole.

Walker was born free, but was exposed to the cruelties of slavery throughout his childhood. By 1828, he had settled in Boston, joined the Massachusetts General Colored Association, and become one of the city's most prominent antislavery spokesmen. Utilizing his trade as a clothes dealer, Walker stitched copies of his Appeal pamphlet into the lining of coats that he sold to black sailors, who transported the work across the country with them. As a result, Georgia and North Carolina enacted laws against incendiary publications, while several southern towns offered rewards for Walker's head or to anyone who could bring him to the South alive. Three editions of the pamphlet were printed within a year after its 1829 release. In the pamphlet, Walker addressed his fellow African-Americans, arguing against colonization. He wrote that "America is more our country than it is the whites—we have enriched it with our blood and tears." Walker was found dead in his home in August 1830, and while some speculated that he was poisoned, recent research suggests that he died of tuberculosis, the same affliction that killed his daughter.

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