© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


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's Appeal was a call to blacks to take militant action, which greatly alarmed white audiences. In it, Walker sought to incite the slaves of the South into rebelling against their masters. Many historians have argued that the antislavery movement began to take shape in 1831, with the publication of William Lloyd Garrison's The Liberator, but Walker was arguably the true originator of radical abolitionism.

back to top