Signifying in David Walker's Appeal: Slavery and Resistance.
David Walker's Appeal was a radical, revolutionary call for slaves to revolt against their masters. Published in 1829, Walker's Appeal had a significant impression in the South on both slaves and slave owners. Primarily, it was meant to be an inspiration to black slaves, instilling pride in his black readers and substantiating their grounds for demanding changes. He also speaks out against colonization and slavery, and he urges both free and enslaved blacks to seize hold of his belief that America is the land of the free, arguing that this concept is all inclusive and pertains to blacks and whites alike. He asserts that slavery is wrong for both moral and religious reasons. His argument exposes and refutes the white man's justification of slavery via a mixture of sarcasm and signifying through Biblical references to the white man's own religion.
In his Appeal, David Walker screams for slaves to rise up and resist the oppression of slavery with the support of numerous Biblical references and themes. In his opening paragraphs Walker argues, .
All persons who are acquainted with history, and particularly the Bible, who are not blinded by the God of this world, and are not actuated solely by avarice--who are able to lay aside prejudice long enough to view candidly and impartially, things as they were, are, and probably will be--who are willing to admit that God made man to serve Him alone, and that man should have no other Lord or Lords but Himself--that God Almighty is the sole proprietor or master of the WHOLE human family, and will not on any consideration admit of a colleague, being unwilling to divide his glory with another (Walker 181).
Walker despises slavery and boldly attacks its rationale through references to slave-holders" religion itself. He unflinchingly contends that all people, both black and white, are human. He reasons that if God created all people, and he is the master of all people, "What right then, have we to obey and call any other Master, but Himself?" (Walker 189).