Who Were David Walker and Maria Stewart and Why Are They So Important to American History?

David Walker and Maria Stewart are two important figures in American history who played a significant role in the fight against slavery and racism. Despite facing numerous obstacles, they both used their voices to advocate for the rights of Black Americans during a time when it was dangerous to do so.

David Walker

David Walker was born on September 28, 1785, in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was the son of a slave father and a free mother.

As a free man himself, he moved to Boston in the early 1800s and became involved in the abolitionist movement. In 1829, he wrote an influential pamphlet called “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.”

In this pamphlet, Walker called for Black Americans to rise up against their oppressors. He argued that slavery was a sin and that white Christians who supported it would face judgement from God. He also encouraged Black Americans to take action through any means necessary – including violence – if they needed to defend themselves against violence from white oppressors.

Walker’s message was controversial at the time and led many white people to fear him. The South Carolina legislature even offered a reward for his capture or death. Despite this opposition, his pamphlet spread throughout America and inspired many other abolitionists.

Maria Stewart

Maria Stewart was born on December 17, 1803, in Hartford, Connecticut. She became an orphan at an early age and worked as an indentured servant until she gained her freedom at age fifteen. She then moved to Boston where she became involved in various social causes such as temperance and education.

Stewart is best known for her speeches on abolitionism and women’s rights. In 1831 she gave her first public speech at the African Masonic Hall in Boston, where she called for the end of slavery and the education of Black Americans. Her speeches were rare at the time because women, especially Black women, were not allowed to speak publicly.

Stewart also wrote articles for various newspapers such as The Liberator and The National Anti-Slavery Standard. In her writings, she advocated for the rights of Black Americans and criticized white abolitionists for not doing enough to support them.


David Walker and Maria Stewart paved the way for future activists to fight against racism and discrimination. Their messages inspired many others to speak out against slavery and work towards equality.

Today, their legacy is still remembered. David Walker’s “Appeal” is still studied in classrooms across America as an important piece of literature that helped inspire change. Maria Stewart’s speeches are also studied as a groundbreaking example of a woman using her voice to speak out against injustice.


David Walker and Maria Stewart were two important figures in American history who used their voices to speak out against slavery and racism. Despite facing opposition and danger, they both inspired others with their messages of hope and change. Their legacies continue to inspire activists today who continue the fight for equality and justice for all Americans.