An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans

 
9781482025668: An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans
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THE SHOCKING HISTORICAL CLASSIC THAT EVERY AFRICAN AMERICAN MUST READ.

Lydia Maria Child (February 11, 1802 – October 20, 1880) was an American abolitionist, women's rights activist, opponent of American expansionism, Indian rights activist, novelist, and journalist and Unitarian.

An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans by Lydia Maria Child provoked a storm of controversy when published in 1833. A prominent Massachusetts politician hurled the book out of the window with a pair of fire tongs. The Boston Athenaeum rescinded the free library privileges the trustees had conferred on Child. Former patrons among the Boston elite slammed their doors in Child's face and cut her dead in the streets. Most disastrous for a woman who supported herself and her husband with her pen, the sales of her books plummeted. The outrage Child's Appeal aroused indicates how deeply entrenched the slave system and the racist ideology upholding it were in the nation's political, economic, and social life and how much courage the book's thirty-one-year-old author displayed by challenging the "peculiar institution" at the risk of forfeiting her literary popularity and her livelihood. Child's contributions to the struggle against racism extend beyond the Appeal and beyond her own time. Over a career of advocacy that lasted until her death in 1880, Child published countless other works for the abolitionist causeracts, biographies, newspaper articles, letters to politicians. stories, a novel advocating intermarriage as the solution to America's race problem (A Romance of the Republic, 1867), and a primer for the emancipated slaves featuring readings by and about people of African descent (The Freedmen's Book, 1865). One of these works, her Correspondence between Lydia Maria Child and Gov. Wise and Mrs. Mason, of Virginia (1860), reached a circulation of 300,000. In addition, Child edited both a major abolitionist newspaper, the National Anti-Slavery Standard (1841843), and a slave narrative now considered a literary classic, Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861).

"By publishing this book I have put my mite into the treasury. The expectation of displeasing all classes has not been unaccompanied with pain. But it has been strongly impressed upon my mind that it was a duty to fulfil this task; and worldly considerations should never stifle the voice of conscience."

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About the Author:

Lydia Maria Child (February 11, 1802-Oct. 20, 1880) was a novelist, editor, journalist and scholar who produced a body of work remarkable for its brilliance, originality and variety, much of it inspired by a strong sense of justice and love of freedom. Little known today, in her own time she was a famously radical abolitionist. She was a student of world religions with a breadth of vision and understanding extraordinary for her time. She was lonely religiously, dissatisfied with the institutional church and hungry for spiritual nourishment. Child is now remembered primarily, if at all, as author of the Thanksgiving poem, "Over the river and through the woods . . . " She deserves an honored place in American and in Unitarian history, though she was critical of the Unitarianism of her day. Publication of An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans, 1833 marked a turning point in Child's career. Outspoken in her condemnation of slavery, she pointed out its contradiction with Christian teachings, described the moral and physical degradation it brought upon slaves and owners alike, not omitting the issue of miscegenation, and not excepting the North from its share of responsibility for the system. "I am fully aware of the unpopularity of the task I have undertaken," she wrote in the introduction, "but though I expect ridicule and censure, it is not in my nature to fear them."

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Over the nine years since she had risen to fame on the wings of her daring maiden novel, Hobomok, A Tale of Early Times (1824), centering around a Puritan woman who marries an Indian and bears him a son, Child had enjoyed intoxicating success. Only a month before the Appeal came off the press, the nation's preeminent journal of letters, the North American Review, had hailed her as "just the woman we want for the mothers and daughters of the present generation" (July 1833, p. 139)....

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