Walker, David. "Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World." 1829. American Literature, Volume 1. 2nd ed., edited by William E. Cain, Alice McDermott,Lance Newman, and Hilary E. Wyss, Pearson, 2014, pp. 512-520.
The Appeal to the Colored of Slavery was published by David Walker in 1829. It is one of the earliest African American authored protests against slavery and racism. These series of articles make Walker to infamy nationwide. In the first articles of his Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, Walker attacked the theories of racial difference that had been articulated by figures like Thomas Jefferson. He takes on Thomas Jefferson and his book "Notes on the State of Virginia". He refuted Jefferson's notion that blacks are inferior to whites. In addition, he channels deep spiritual faith and innumerable material sufferings into an impassioned abolitionist plea to his fellows. He compares the positions of African Americans in the United States to the slaves of civilizations past and their brothers-in-chains throughout the Atlantic world. He seeks to expose the root sources of African miseries in the Americas. Third, Walker also called on the slaves to arm themselves and to overthrow their owners with any necessary violence.
This article explains several miseries of Blacks with reference to the long history of trans-Atlantic African slavery, a system novel in its brutality, its level of control over the individual slave, and the perpetual expulsion of former slaves from citizenship. Walker concludes the first article by denouncing ignorance, encouraging education and self-empowerment, and eventually, violent resistance when and where necessary. In his article, Walker states that "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" (515). Walker traveled over a considerable portion of United States and had in the course of his travels taken the most accurate observation of things as they exist, he set up an unshaken conviction that Blacks (colored people of these United States) are the most degraded, wretched people that ever lived since the world began. Considering those unlimited pain happened to him, he prays God, that none like them ever may live until time shall be no more. He thinks Whites hold Blacks in their infernal chains of slavery that they wish to be white, or of their color, but for blacks, they do not hope so. He appeals to someone for his motive in writing, who knows that his object is to awaken his afflicted, degraded and slumbering brethren. A spirit of inquiry and investigation respecting their miseries and wretchedness in the Republican land of Liberty. Surely, to the slaves, the words were inspiring and instilled a sense of pride and hope.
Walker's Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World indirectly attacked the slavery institution that was a major social problem before the civil war. The narrative refutes the myth that blacks derived happiness from being slaves. It lays facts to oppose the argument that slavery was a benevolent institution that ensured feeding, clothing and occupation opportunities to the black people unable to care for themselves. It presents a heartfelt attack on the institution and its proponents for cruelty and inhumane treatment directed to black and minority groups. In doing so, it opposes the mistreatment and exploitation of individuals for their race and perception of being the subhuman property with no citizenship rights. It illustrates the contribution made by the black people to enrich the Whites to deserve equal citizenship rights as belonging to the human family. The appeal warns the black people that unless they unite and resist their submissive nature, they will not shake off the chain of slavery and related miseries. It injected a fresh idea to the black people and other minority groups submissive to the dominant whites of their equal citizenship rights guaranteeing them space in the United States nation.
Walker's narrative draws parallel to the cruelty perpetrated by Egyptians to the Israelites to condemn inhumane treatment committed to individuals perceived weak in the society. It evokes such acts to show the comparison with institutions supported by laws and theories that prohibit peaceful coexistence amongst individuals. The heartfelt attacks on the inhumane treatment rank the experience harsher than Israelites would bear from the Egyptians. The comparison is informative of the misery that black people face to make a case for unity to resist further mistreatment. The narrative appears to oppose continued courting of favor with the oppressors and telling lies that often sustain hellish chains of cruelty. The representation of facts indicative of mistreatment and oppression of black people would influence a popular struggle against slavery institution and fight for equal citizenship rights as the dominant white.
The message conveyed in the text obligates the recognition of equal rights for all individuals regardless of their race, ethnic background and class. It demonstrates the equality that contemporary society should embrace and nurture by uniting to eliminate the forms of oppression that yield inhumane experiences. It inspires a moral course to eradicate modern slavery in human trafficking flourishing within the backyards of the civilized society. The human trafficking industry is growing to a multi-billion dollar enterprise preying on innocent women and children. It bears the claims of traditional slavery demonstrated as a benevolent institution to clothe and feed the incapable black people. In particular, the slavery survives through false promises, trickery, and threats from the traffickers only for victims to experience abuse, exploitation and perhaps endless humiliation evident in Libya and New York. The article argues a case for unity to fight against the slavery that due to its low visibility leaves little done to combat its flourishing channels.
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