David Walker's Appeal, arguably the most radical of all anti-slavery documents, caused a great stir when it was published in September of 1829 with its call for slaves to revolt against their masters. David Walker, a free black originally from the South wrote, ". . .they want us for their slaves, and think nothing of murdering us. . . therefore, if there is an attempt made by us, kill or be killed. . . and believe this, that it is no more harm for you to kill a man who is trying to kill you, than it is for you to take a drink of water when thirsty." Even the outspoken William Lloyd Garrison objected to Walker's approach in an editorial about the Appeal.
The goal of the Appeal was to instill pride in its black readers and give hope that change would someday come. It spoke out against colonization, a popular movement that sought to move free blacks to a colony in Africa. America, Walker believed, belonged to all who helped build it. He went even further, stating, "America is more our country than it is the whites -- we have enriched it with our blood and tears." He then asked, "will they drive us from our property and homes, which we have earned with our blood?"
Copies of the Appeal were discovered in Savannah, Georgia, within weeks of its publication. Within several months copies were found from Virginia to Louisiana. Walker revised his Appeal. He died in August of 1830, shortly after publishing the third edition.