RICHMOND, Va. — The University of Virginia has acquired a rare first edition of an 1829 anti-slavery manifesto that was considered a rallying cry for black Americans and a major threat to Southern leaders, who worked vigorously to ban it.Read on HERE.
The copy of abolitionist David Walker's "Appeal in Four Articles; Together With a Preamble to the Coloured Citizens of the World, But in Particular, and Very Expressly to Those of the United States of America" is one of seven known to still exist. The pamphlet is on display at U.Va.'s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.
A private endowment for U.Va.'s special collections recently acquired it from a New Jersey rare-book dealer for $95,000, university officials said Thursday.
"Scholars have rightly termed the Appeal a declaration of independence for black Americans and linked it to the long tradition of political dissent and pamphleteering, as well as to the beginnings of American abolitionism," said Deborah McDowell, director of U.Va.'s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies.
In the 76-page, 8 1/2-inch-by-5-inch pamphlet, Walker urged slaves to rise up against their owners, and argued for the abolition of slavery on moral and Christian theological grounds.
"It really was the very first document in the United States to call for the immediate, uncompensated abolition of slavery," said Harry L. Watson, director of the University of North Carolina's Center for the Study of the American South.
A free black man's direct incitement to slave revolt was "highly explosive and highly illegal," Watson said.
And so it goes.