43. Kill or Be Killed: David Walker’s Appeal

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David Walker defends violent resistance in his incendiary and influential Appeal.



Further Reading

• D. Walker, Appeal, 3rd edition (Boston: 1830). Online here.


• H. Aptheker, "One Continual Cry": David Walker's Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World (1829-1830), Its Setting and Its Meaning (New York: 1965).

• R. Burrow, God and Human Responsibility: David Walker and Ethical Prophecy (Macon: 2003).

• M.J. Dinius, “Look!! Look!!! at This!!!! The Radical Typography of David Walker’s Appeal,” PMLA 126 (2011), 55-72.

• E.S. Glaude, Exodus! Religion, Race, and Nation in Early Nineteenth-Century Black America (Chicago: 2000), ch. 2. 

• P.P. Hinks, To Awaken my Afflicted Brethren: David Walker and the Problem of Antebellum Slave Resistance (University Park: 1997).

• M.L. Rogers, "David Walker and the Political Power of the Appeal," Political Theory 43 (2015), 208-33.

• D. Scriven, A Dealer of Old Clothes: Philosophical Conversations with David Walker (Lanham: 2007).

• S. Stuckey, Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America (New York: 1987).

• P. Thompson, "David Walker's Nationalism - and Thomas Jefferson's," Journal of the Early Republic 37 (2017), 47-80.

• A. Zamalin, Struggle on their Minds: the Political Thought of African American Resistance (New York: 2017).


dukeofethereal on 5 January 2020

Just to here to post that I

Just to here to post that I have been enjoying these series of episodes of 18th/early 19th century Africana Philosophy so far, I would like to thank you and Chike Jeffers for making them  as detailed as possible. I would like for them to be released in two books (Pre-Colonial and Diaspora in 1 book and 20th as another) when they are released :P 


Professor could you also list the upcoming interviews on this section of Africana philosophy on this page please




P.S interesting new theme regarding 'War and Violence', I would also add the following past episodes regarding this theme such as 



Episode 47 (Aristotle),

Episode 67, (Aurelius)

Episode 90, (Plotinus on Evil),

Episode 97, (Pagan Philosophers),

 113 (City of God),

130 (Al Farabi concept of Prophet), 

147 (Islamic Law),

154 (Ibn Khaldun history on regimes),

176 (Al Tusi),

181 (Ibn Taymiyyah Fatwa on Ilkhanid Mongols) ,

218 (Salisbury’s Policraticus),

246 (Rule of Law),

269 (Giles of Rome) ,

307 (Psellos)

310 (Byzantine Political theory),

316 (Byzantine war theories) ,

321 (Byzantine and Islam wars)


India: Episode 11 (Asoka),  13 (Mahabharata) , 14 ( Bhagavad, The Ritual of Battle) and 15 (Non-Violence) 


Africa: Episode 9 (Zera), 13 (Sokoto), 34 (Haynes), 37 (Haitain Revolution), 38 (Baron), 39 (Interview on Haitain revolution)


P.s  past episodes with no themes attached

Episode 16 (Plato's socrates),

episode 18 (Life and Works of Plato),

34 (Aristotle's life and works),

54 (Cyreniacs) ,

87 (Life and works on Plotinues),

Episode 98 ( John Philoponus, missing Eternity of the World theme), 

 101 (intro to Christian philosophy),

112 (Augustine on Freedom)

120 (Philosophy in the Islamic World intro, missing  'Religion and reason' theme and Translation/Textual transmission theme since works are in Arabic)

146 ( Andalusia intro, missing  'Religion and reason' theme, Translation/textual transmission theme)

171 (Eastern traditions introductions, missing  'Religion and reason' theme, translation/textual transmission theme since works are in Farsi/Turksih)

185( Safavids, = Time/Eternity theme, ' 'Religion and reason' theme)

196 (Introduction to early Medieval philosophy, missing  'Religion and reason' theme and translation/textual transmission theme)

Episode 1 of Indian Philosophy -  'Religion and reason' theme and Translation theme 

Episode 1 of Africana

Thanks and happy new year to the both of you !

In reply to by dukeofethereal

Peter Adamson on 5 January 2020


Wow, thanks! You are paying better attention to the series than I am, even. I was trying to remember which old episodes are relevant for violence and war and didn't come up with nearly that many, I will definitely add at least some of those (have to revisit the scripts to see which ones are most relevant!)

Actually the plan for the Africana book publication is exactly what you say: one volume for episodes up to 1900, a second volume for the 20th century. So actually we are approaching the end of the material for the first volume which means it could come out in 2021 if all goes well.

In reply to by dukeofethereal

Chike Jeffers on 5 January 2020

Happy new year to you as well!

And I am so glad that you are enjoying the series and appreciating the level of detail. Thank you for listening and paying so much attention.

12 December 2023 on 12 December 2023

David Walker

In the podcast you said something like that many people find Walker's ethics of violence "philosophically challenging". I don't see it that way. Many peoples had to violently resist to acheive emancipation. As a football fan, you may know that the Libertadores Cup in South America is named in tribute to the men who violently resisted colonial rule. Ukranians are violently resisting today. Jews still honour those who violently resisted the Romans over two millenia ago. The vast majority of Americans see the American revolution as something to be celebrated. Fourth of July every year. The American revolution was violent resistance over what was often figuratively likened to slavery. Why should it be challenging that violent resistance was called for against actual slavery?

It's almost as if many people have one rule for whites and another for blacks. What do these many people who find David Walker "philosophically challenging" make of the Haitian revolution?

To me it seems like the standard course of events in human affairs. Certainly at the time. Ultimately, violence, or the threat of violence, resolves many a conflict. What was it that actually ended slavery in the US?

12 December 2023 on 12 December 2023

The podcast

I HUMBLY write to grant you my warmest COMMENDATIONS on this fine podcast! I pray you sirs, CONTINUE!!!!!!!!

In reply to by 12 December 2023

Chike Jeffers on 13 December 2023

This made me smile

Thank you, with the appropriate number of exclamation marks.

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