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FB-58081-15
African American Abolitionist David Walker's "Appeal" (1829) and Antebellum American Print Culture
Marcy Dinius, DePaul University

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FB-58081-15

“The High Stakes of Authorship in Jefferson’s Notes, Walker’s Appeal, and Apes’s ‘Looking-Glass.’” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “The High Stakes of Authorship in Jefferson’s Notes, Walker’s Appeal, and Apes’s ‘Looking-Glass.’”
Author: Marcy J. Dinius
Abstract: My paper examines an understudied relationship among Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, David Walker’s Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, and William Apes’s “An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man.” Scholars have recognized the influence of Walker’s Appeal on Apes’s “Looking-Glass”—both published as pamphlets in Boston in 1829-30 and 1833, respectively—but have left unconsidered the significant influence of Jefferson’s Notes on both. Walker based his scathing response to Jefferson in his controversial pamphlet on the eighth American edition of Notes, published in Boston in 1801. This edition includes the so-called Logan appendix, in which Jefferson defends his inclusion of Chief Logan’s well-known 1774 speech as evidence for his argument respecting Native American eloquence and, thus, intellectual capacity in Notes. Challenged as a fraud in a series of letters penned by his political enemies and published in newspapers in the 1790s, Jefferson found himself compelled to revisit his ideas about authorship and authority that he had articulated in Query XIV as important elements in his conclusions about the intellectual capacities of whites, Native Americans, and people of African descent. Significantly, Jefferson deploys what Meredith McGill has termed “the culture of reprinting” as an important part of his self-defense as an author, arguing that he was only one among countless reprinters of the Logan speech rather than its originator. I argue that David Walker and William Apes perceived this tension between the different editions of Notes—specifically between the Logan appendix and Query XIV— and exploited it to challenge Jefferson’s conclusions about blacks’ and Indians’ abilities as authors. Understood relation to Jefferson’s Notes, we better recognize the two pamphlets as powerful arguments for and material evidence of African and Native Americans’ full-fledged humanity.
Date: 5/26/2016
Conference Name: Early American Literature and Material Texts Conference, McNeil Center for Early American Studies/University of Pennsylvania.

“David Walker’s Appeal, Henry Highland Garnet’s Reprint, and Paola Brown’s Piracy/Plagiary.” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “David Walker’s Appeal, Henry Highland Garnet’s Reprint, and Paola Brown’s Piracy/Plagiary.”
Author: Marcy J. Dinius
Abstract: This presentation considers whether Paola Brown's 1851 pamphlet "An Address On the Subject of Slavery" should be considered a plagiary, a reprinting, and/or an instance generative originality by an author seeking to adapt and advance David Walker's arguments post-Fugitive Slave Law in Canada by any means necessary.
Date: 5/29/2016

“The High Stakes of Authorship in Early America.” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “The High Stakes of Authorship in Early America.”
Author: Marcy J. Dinius
Abstract: My talk today focuses three early American texts--Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, David Walker’s Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, and William Apes’s “An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man--to examine an an understudied conversation about race, authorship, and personhood among these authors and to consider an important material texts dimension of their conversation.
Date: 5/24/2016

“The Pamphlet as Looking-Glass for the White Man: David Walker, William Apes, and Format.” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “The Pamphlet as Looking-Glass for the White Man: David Walker, William Apes, and Format.”
Author: Marcy J. Dinius
Abstract: Scholars have passingly linked David Walker and William Apes as working in a multiracial community of Boston activists against racism and for equal rights, leaving a close, comparative examination of Walker’s Appeal (1829-30) and Apes’s “An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man” (1833) to be undertaken. My paper examines the two pamphlets to argue that Apes is not just influenced by the confrontational rhetorical style of Walker’s Appeal, but also directly borrows language from Walker’s pamphlet to confront white Christian Americans—as Walker does—with their hypocrisy. Like Walker, Apes does so by means of the pamphlet, the preferred format of radicals for unsettling the status quo. Taking seriously Apes’s metonym of the mirror—a formerly exclusive technology that, parallel with the pamphlet, had become available to the masses for both self-examination and critique—this paper illuminates how Walker implicitly and Apes explicitly seize on visual technology and print format to reflect back to white Christian Americans their principles as they actually look in practice to Native and African Americans.
Date: 5/17/2016
Conference Name: C19 Biennial Conference. State College, PA.

“The Northern Exposure of Walker’s Appeal: Paola Brown as Plagiarist, Reprinter, Editor, and/or Author.” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “The Northern Exposure of Walker’s Appeal: Paola Brown as Plagiarist, Reprinter, Editor, and/or Author.”
Author: Marcy J. Dinius
Abstract: This paper considers the case of Paola Brown, a free black emigrant to Upper Canada from Pennsylvania, who published in 1851 an unacknowledged reprinting of David Walker’s Appeal (Boston, 1829-30) as his own Address. My comparison of the two pamphlets focuses on the different graphic form that the same message took, asking whether Brown’s Address can be considered either plagiarism or a reprint of Walker’s Appeal without reproduce the striking typography that was so integral to Walker’s message. More broadly, I reconsider Meredith McGill’s claim about antebellum American literature’s emergence through a “culture of reprinting” in light of the profuse reprint culture of antislavery that extended beyond national boundaries. If texts were circulating so freely between the United States and Canada, I asks, what properly constitutes African American literature, American literature, or more broadly, American print culture?
Date: 1/7/2016
Conference Name: Modern Language Association Annual Convention. Austin, TX


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