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(1828) David Walker, “The Necessity of A General Union Among Us”

David Walker (1796-1830) is best known for his revolutionary pamphlet, Walker’s Appeal, in Four Ariticles: 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. This twenty-six-page pamphlet warned of a bloody insurrection if American slaveholders did not liberate their enslaved. This was the first call for armed insurrection. Walker was born free in Wilmington, North Carolina, and moved to Boston, where he was the proprietor of a new and used clothing store form 1825 to his death in 1830. Walker’s speeches are less well known. In December, 1828 he delivered an address before the Massachusetts General Colored Association, an organization founded two years earlier in Boston to oppose slavery and discrimination against free blacks. The speech, which called for organization and united action among African Americans, appears below.

Mr. President,—I cannot but congratulate you, together with my brethren on this highly interesting occasion, the first semi-annual meeting of this Society. When I reflect upon the many impediments though which we have had to conduct its affairs, and see, with emotion of delight, the present degree of eminency to which it has arisen, I cannot, sir, but be of the opinion, that an invisible arm must have been stretched out in our behalf. From the very second conference, which was by us convened, to agitate the proposition respecting the society, to the final consolidation, we were by some, opposed, with an avidity and zeal, which, had it been on the opposite side, would have done great honor to themselves. And, sir, but for the undeviating, and truly patriotic exertions of those who were favorable to the formation of this institution, it might have been this day, in yet unorganized condition. Did I say in an unorganized condition? Yea, had our opponents their way, the very notion of such an institution might have been obliterated in our minds. How strange it is, to see men of sound sense, and of

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