"I know that the blacks, take them half enlightened and ignorant, are more humane and merciful than the most enlightened and refined European that can be found in all the earth."
The son of a slave father and a free black mother, David Walker was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1796 or 1797. A free man, he moved to Boston and was a member of the Prince Hall Masons, a Methodist Church, and the Massachusetts General Colored Association, the first abolitionist organization in Boston. He ran a secondhand clothes shop and was an active supporter of Freedom’s Journal, the first newspaper owned and operated by an African American.
Walker became one of the earliest and most forceful abolitionist authors with his Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World and Expressly to the Coloured Citizens of the United States. The Appeal recounted the sufferings of black men and women and demanded that African Americans fight for change. Critics, including William Lloyd Garrison, questioned or condemned the Appeal for inciting violence, but Walker continued to distribute the pamphlet from his shop.
The David Walker House, 81 Joy Street, Boston MA 02114 is not open to the public.