H105, American History I

David Walker, Appeal To the Coloured Citizens of the World (1830).

Article I, Our Wretchedness in Consequence of Slavery


The whites have always been an unjust, jealous, unmercifu1, avaricious and blood-thirsty set of beings, always seeking after power and authority. — We view them all over the confederacy of Greece, where they were first known to be any thing, (in consequence of education) we see them there, cutting each other’s throats — trying to subject each other to wretchedness and misery — to effect which, they used all kinds of deceitful, unfair, and unmerciful means.  We view them next in Rome, where the spirit of tyranny and deceit raged still higher.  We view them in Gaul, Spain, and in Britain. — In fine, we view them all over Europe, together with what were scattered about in Asia and Africa, as heathens, and we see them acting more like devils than accountable men.  But some may ask, did not the blacks of Africa, and the mulattoes of Asia, go on in the same way as did the whites of Europe.  I answer, no — they never were half so avaricious, deceitful and unmerciful as the whites, according to their knowledge.

But we will leave the whites or Europeans as heathens, and take a view of them as Christians, in which capacity we see them as cruel, if not more so than ever.  In fact, take them as a body, they are ten times more cruel, avaricious and unmerciful than ever they were; for while they were heathens, they were bad enough it is true, but it is positively a fact that they were not quite so audacious as to go and take vessel loads of men, women and children, and in cold blood, and through devilishness, throw them into the sea, and murder them in all kind of ways.  While they were heathens, they were too ignorant for such barbarity.  But being Christians, enlightened and sensible, they are completely prepared for such hellish cruelties....

Article IV, Our Wretchedness in Consequence of the Colonizing Plan

....It is a fact, that in our Southern and Western States, there are millions who hold us in chains or in slavery, whose greatest object and glory, is centered in keeping us sunk in the most profound ignorance and stupidity, to make us work without remunerations for our services.  Many of whom if they catch a coloured person, whom they hold in unjust ignorance, slavery and degradation, to them and their children, with a book in his hand, will beat him nearly to death.  I heard a wretch in the state of North Carolina said, that if any man would teach a black person whom he held in slavery, to spell, read or write, he would prosecute him to the very extent of the law. — Said the ignorant wretch,* “a Nigar, ought not to have any more sense than enough to work for his master.”  May I not ask to fatten the wretch and his family? — These and similar cruelties these Christians have been for hundreds of years inflicting on our fathers and us in the dark, God has however, very recently published some of their secret crimes on the house top, that the world may gaze on their Christianity and see of what kind it is composed. — Georgia for instance, God has completely shown to the world, the Christianity among its white inhabitants.  A law has recently passed the Legislature of this republican State (Georgia) prohibiting all free or slave persons of colour, from learning to read or write; another law has passed the republican House of Delegates, (but not the Senate) in Virginia, to prohibit all persons of colour, (free and slave) from learning to read or write, and even to hinder them from meeting together in order to worship our Maker!!!!!! — Now I solemnly appeal, to the most skilful historians in the world, and all those who are mostly acquainted with the histories of the Antideluvians and of Sodom and Gomorrah, to show me a parallel of barbarity.  Christians!!  Christians!!  I dare you to show me a parallel of cruelties in the annals of Heathens or of Devils, with those of Ohio, Virginia and of Georgia....

* It is a fact, that in all our Slave-holding States (in the countries) there are thousands of whites, who are almost as ignorant in comparison as horses, the most they know, is to beat the coloured people, which some of them shall have their hearts full of yet.


In conclusion, I ask the candid and unprejudiced of the whole world, to search the pages of historians diligently, and see if the Antideluvians — the Sodomites — the Egyptians —  the Babylonians — the Ninevites — the Carthagenians — the Persians — the Macedonians — the Greeks — the Romans — the Mahometans — the Jews — or devils, ever treated a set of human beings, as the white Christians of America do us, the blacks, or Africans.  I also ask the attention of the world of mankind to the declaration of these very American people, of the United States.

A declaration made July 4, 1776.

It says, “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them.  A decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires, that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. — We hold these truths to be self evident — that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.  But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”  See your Declaration Americans!!!  Do you understand your own language?  Hear your language, proclaimed to the world, July 4th, 1776 — “We hold these truths to be self evident — that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL!!  that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!!”  Compare your own language above, extracted from your Declaration of Independence, with your cruelties and murders inflicted by your cruel and unmerciful fathers and yourselves on our fathers and on us — men who have never given your fathers or you the least provocation!!!!!!

Hear your language further!  “But when a long traits of abuses and usurpation, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”