Recirculating Black Militancy in Word and ImageHenry Highland Garnet's "Volume of Fire"
This article foregrounds materiality in examining Henry Highland Garnet's 1848 volume, which includes two texts of black militancy—a reprint of David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World (1829, 1830) and Garnet's Address to the Slaves (1843). My argument situates Garnet's Address within the volume in which it appeared, considers Garnet's role as compiler, and recognizes the book's role in the further circulation of black militancy. A focus on Garnet's volume illuminates antebellum black militant print's survival, malleability, and cachet. Garnet's volume precipitated subsequent circulation not only of Walker's and Garnet's texts but also of an image of a black Moses from Garnet's book. The most striking iteration appeared in a modified form as the frontispiece of Hollis Read's The Negro Problem Solved (1864). The similarity of the images throws into sharp relief the contrast marking the books: Read's advocacy of colonization is far different from Garnet's and Walker's assertions of black citizenship, even as Read's book fabricates affiliation with Garnet. Ultimately, my focus on materiality reveals a range of motives at work in the dissemination of antebellum black militancy—in text and image—and demonstrates that black militant print could paradoxically circulate while becoming unrecognizable.
In 1848 African American abolitionist, Presbyterian minister, and colored convention representative Henry Highland Garnet went to a print shop in New York to put into circulation an Address to the Slaves that he had delivered at the national colored convention. Addressed to black Americans in enslavement, Garnet's text fashions itself as having been collectively authored by free people of color in the North. It presses upon the enslaved their status as citizens and proposes a course of action: slaves should confront their "lordly enslavers," insisting on manumission and refusing further labor with the understanding that "there is not much hope of Redemption without the shedding of blood."1 The Address concludes with the claim that "no oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance."2 Garnet's oration had twice been narrowly rejected by the convention—in 1843 and in 1847—specifically for its justification of slaves' rights to physical resistance, which Frederick Douglass articulated as having "too much physical force."3 Following the second rejection, Garnet sought publication of the speech but not as a single text. Along with his own address, Garnet carried into the print shop another text of black militancy that had appeared nineteen years earlier, David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World (1829–30).4 While scholars tend to acknowledge that Garnet's Address to the Slaves originated as an oral address whose publication came later, little attention has been given to its materiality.5 This article situates Garnet's oration within the volume in which it was published, considers Garnet's role as compiler, and recognizes the volume's role in the circulation of Walker's and Garnet's texts. Such focus on the materiality of Garnet's volume affords fuller understanding of the survival, malleability, and cachet of antebellum black militant print.
But my argument extends farther: Garnet's volume precipitated subsequent circulation not only of Walker's and Garnet's texts but also of an [End Page 150] image of a black Moses from Garnet's book. Within Garnet's volume, the image functions as a frontispiece to Walker's Appeal, which none of the three editions "published by David Walker" included.6 The most striking repurposing of the image appeared in a modified form sixteen years later as the frontispiece of Hollis Read's The Negro Problem Solved (1864).7 For twenty-first-century readers, the similarity of the images (whose artists and engravers are unknown) throws into sharp relief the contrast marking the two books, Read's advocacy of African colonization far different from Garnet's and Walker's respective assertions of black citizenship. Attention to the texts and images that constitute and constellate around Garnet's volume over the span of 35 years illuminates within overlapping black militant, abolitionist, and African colonizationist networks the function of print affiliation, a term I use to describe an association between authors and editors that is forged through or enabled by print. In particular, I examine how authors and editors utilize paratext—the attendant elements of books, including prefaces and frontispieces—to purposefully generate the perception that they are connected in some way to another author or editor.8
Efforts to explain the role of print in advancing affiliation—a sense of connectedness or shared sentiment—among the public have become familiar in accounts of early America. Benedict Anderson's well-known formulation of the function of novels and newspapers in propelling national belonging ("nationalism") and Trish Loughran's counter that developments in print technology exposed national dissensus ("sectionalism") are two of the most seminal.9 In theorizing affiliation as a relation among readers, whether at the national or regional level, these formulations attempt to apprehend a phenomenon quite different from the focus of this article. I concentrate, instead, on how authors and editors employed paratextextual spaces and recirculation practices (namely, reprinting and recycling) to fashion themselves as associated with other authors and editors, an affiliation from which their respective political projects stood to gain. My argument relies on narrow use of two terms: reprinting to pertain to text ("the resetting of type—i.e., printing not from manuscripts but from already printed texts") and recycling to refer to images (producing subsequent iterations, whether reprinted or produced anew, with resemblance to a previous image).10 Recirculation, however, is used in both a narrow and broad sense. Because neither reprinting nor recycling ensures subsequent circulation, my use of the term "recirculation" at times reflects the strict definition of the term—to disseminate again. But given that both reprinting and recycling can serve as initial steps in the recirculation process, "recirculation" at times refers [End Page 151] to the larger process of generating new opportunities for a text or image to come into contact with readers/viewers. For while a new iteration of a text or image is not necessarily followed by dissemination, the reappearance of the text or image provides another opportunity for dissemination to occur.
Insofar as Henry Louis Gates, Jr. focuses on connections among authors, his account of the ways in which early black writers "read, repeated, imitated, and revised" one another in a process he calls "signifyin(g)," whereby the black-authored texts together form a "web of filiation," would seem to come closer to my use of print affiliation. In Gates's paradigm, hidden moments of intertextuality among early black-authored texts come into view via the "trope of the talking book": the recurring scene in which a book fails to "speak" to a black narrator, which mirrors the preclusion of black Africans as subjects by Western tradition.11 Joseph Rezek has pointed out that although Gates "explores rhetorical figures that turn on the tension between the spoken and the written word, a tension he places at the center of black vernacular discourse and the centuries-old literary tradition it inspired," he "conflates" two "medium[s]": "handwriting" and "printing."12 I would add that in the case of Garnet's volume, whatever advantage Gates's focus on authorship might confer is less illuminating without the attention to the medium of printing that Rezek recommends. Rather than exclusively a shared trope or other oblique textual marker revealing a subtle intertextuality, it is primarily the conspicuous components of the technology of printing—particularly those decisions that fall within the purview of an editor—that make connections between Walker's and Garnet's texts visible. Specifically, affiliation between the two texts gets announced in Garnet's reprinting the Appeal and having it bound with his own Address, while Garnet's use of paratextual spaces, as I will show, clarifies the nature of the affiliation.
Though Walker and Garnet are routinely referred to as "militant" and identified as forerunners of the Black Power movement, black militancy in the antebellum period has not been adequately theorized. In fact, scholarship tends to collapse distinctions between antebellum black militancy in print and its other forms.13 I use the term to indicate justifications of and/or calls for collective physical resistance in print, distinguishing textual iterations from attempted slave revolts and conspiracies.14 With few exceptions, black militancy, broadly categorized, is typically historicized as sensational in its impact and as largely disavowed by white anti-slavery advocates.15 Recirculation practices suggest, however, that with the passage of time, the anti-slavery response to black militant print may have been more variegated. Building on a significant body of scholarship invested in thinking about [End Page 152] African American print culture beyond the realm of single-author authorship, my argument contributes insight not only into black militant print's longevity but also into its malleability.16 Recirculation practices reveal the various uses of print affiliation utilized by both Garnet and Read, the latter author providing a particularly surprising case study. Indeed, recirculation creates the appearance that Read's book affirming the American Colonization Society—the very organization that received trenchant criticism from both Walker and Garnet—shared affiliation with Garnet. These examples suggest that black militancy could function as a sought-after source of cultural cachet employed to legitimize other political ideas concerning African descendants in the US. At the same time, my focus on materiality and the afterlives of print reveals a range of motives at work in the dissemination of antebellum black militant print and demonstrates how black militancy—in text and image—could paradoxically circulate while becoming invisible.
Garnet's Reprinting of Walker's Appeal
Taken together, the Appeal and Walker's strategy for circulating it in 1829 and 1830 form "one of the boldest and most innovative plans for slave empowerment and resistance ever executed in America," as Peter P. Hinks puts it.17 The late 1840s are widely recognized as a turning point marking the growing radicalism of black abolitionists. To return the Appeal to print at this time was no small matter. Attention to Garnet's reprinting of the second edition of the Appeal brings into sharper focus the anti-colonizationist stance of Garnet's address, the type of affiliation Garnet sought to forge with Walker, and the larger (international) audience of Walker's pamphlet.18 Walker's Appeal appeared as a pamphlet advocating resistance against enslavement, describing general disenfranchisement of the free black population, and exposing efforts to recolonize black Americans to Africa as motivated by a pro-slavery agenda.19 While in keeping with an African American rhetorical tradition of exposing the nation's failed democratic promises, the Appeal is unique in its forthright endorsement of collective physical resistance. Addressed to the "coloured citizens of the world," the pamphlet seeks to fortify black Americans with knowledge of an Afrocentric historiography, confidence in a God of justice, and affirmation of their status as US citizens. But it also includes a number of direct addresses to white readers, exhorting them to end slavery and systemic racism while warning of the consequences should they not comply. Over the course of 1829 and 1830, Walker issued [End Page 153] three editions. The pamphlet circulated widely as Walker mailed copies to southerners and enlisted sailors who patronized his used clothing store to transport them via east coast ship routes. Both the pamphlet and its dissemination elicited extensive reaction thanks to newspaper reporting across the country. To be found in possession of a copy in much of the South was illegal as several states passed laws banning seditious literature.20 Despite its multiple rhetorical agendas, the Appeal signaled for much of antebellum America an embrace of militant resistance from which even the most radical of white abolitionists—at least initially—distanced themselves.21 Government officials in the South and commentators across the country relied on a shared language to describe the pamphlet: "incendiary," "seditious," and "dangerous," primarily with respect to its potential impact on southern slaves, indicating that for white America, black militancy was the Appeal's defining characteristic.22
Walker's advocacy of physical resistance corresponds with his critique of African colonization: both positions emanate from the fundamental assertion of the citizenship of African descendants in the US. The opening preamble addresses itself to "My dearly beloved Brethren and Fellow Citizens," with "citizens" recurring throughout the pamphlet as a form of direct address.23 Denouncing the primary organization behind African colonization—the American Colonization Society (ACS)—thus stands as one of the pamphlet's cornerstones, for Walker saw colonization as rooted in a refusal to recognize black citizenship.24 At the time of the Appeal's initial publication, the ACS had generated significant support for its colonization agenda. Founded in December of 1816, the ACS extended its reach with the launch of The African Repository and Colonial Journal in 1825. Given that the ACS was a precarious alliance among slaveholders, abolitionists, philanthropists, and others, Walker saw fit to expose its links to a pro-slavery agenda.25 For evidence, Walker points readers to the print arm of the ACS: "See the African Repository and Colonial Journal [sic], from its commencement to the present day—see how we are through the medium of that periodical, abused and held up by the Americans, as the greatest nuisance to society, and throat-cutters in the world."26 The ACS routinely argued that full citizenship for African descendants was unattainable, in part, due to black "degradation."27 Walker's concluding section excoriating colonization is the longest of the four. The rising ascendancy of the ACS, then, is more than a backdrop against which Walker wrote; it animates the pamphlet's larger aim to press upon the black community their identity as citizens. Close attention to this dimension of the Appeal brings Garnet's anti-colonization position into sharper focus. [End Page 154]
Without referencing either the ACS or the term "colonization," Garnet's Address to the Slaves shares the Appeal's denunciation of African colonization. Specifically, Garnet dismisses what he calls "grand Exodus from the land of bondage" as a solution to the problem of enslavement, identifying it as "impossible."28 Garnet's rejection of colonization was more forthright in another text that appeared the same year that Address to the Slaves was published. An address to the Female Benevolent Society of Troy, which later appeared in print as The Past and the Present Condition, and the Destiny, of the Colored Race, articulates Garnet's anti-colonizationist position: "There are those who, either from good or evil motives, plead for the utopian plan of the Colonization of a whole race to the shores of Africa. We are now colonized. We are planted here and cannot as a whole people, be re-colonized back to our fatherland."29 The explicitly identified audience of Address to the Slaves—enslaved persons—perhaps explains the less prominent role that colonization occupies in Garnet's address as it was a more immediate concern for free people of color.30 Nonetheless, the Address to the Slaves takes an anti-colonizationist position that becomes more prominent when placed in both its pre-print and print contexts.31
Attention to the 1843 convention in particular illuminates the significance of anti-colonization to Garnet's Address to the Slaves, which takes shape as an assertion of black citizenship rights. In reminding the enslaved of their status, Garnet explicitly addresses the issue of citizenship, much like Walker: "forget not that you are native-born American citizens, and as such, you are justly entitled to all the rights that are granted to the freest."32 In fact, Garnet's text is addressed to "Brethren and Fellow Citizens."33 Garnet underscores the interdependence among those in slavery and those in nominal freedom: "While you have been oppressed, we have also been partakers with you; nor can we be free while you are enslaved."34 Whether free or enslaved, African Americans share a citizenship compromised by systemic and legislated white supremacy, an insight that seemingly takes precedence over a more direct statement against colonization. In the context of the 1843 national meeting, however, Garnet's focus on citizenship contributes to the convention's larger anti-colonization stance. As the published Minutes reflect, resolutions 11–17 commented negatively on colonization. With the exception of one, all resolutions expressing criticism of the American Colonization Society were "adopted without debate," and even the debated resolution passed.35 Garnet's focus on citizenship thus reflects the convention's anti-colonization platform. Over the course of the 1850s, Garnet's stance on African American involvement in Africa did not remain static. In [End Page 155] fact, by 1858 he was involved in an organization, the African Civilization Society, that advanced its own program of African emigration, as will be addressed. Though Garnet's position on emigration changed over time, his opposition to the American Colonization Society seems to have remained constant until the 1880s, a detail worth belaboring in light of Hollis Read's later adaptation of the image from Garnet's frontispiece in a book affirming the ACS.36 Given the aforementioned centrality of anti-colonization to the Appeal, Garnet's decision to publish his oration with the Appeal in the same volume would further allow Garnet to connect his assertion of citizenship to anti-colonization.
It is important to recount how debates about Garnet's oration unfolded in both 1843 and 1847, for the dissent and resulting rejections of the oration paved the way for the type of affiliation Garnet would subsequently forge with Walker. By the 1840s, Garnet had become recognizable within the colored convention movement and the Liberty party. It was his 1843 speech, however, that generated controversy, within the walls of the meeting hall and beyond, for supporting the principle of physical resistance for slaves.37 The speech was initially sent to a committee to address "some points in it that might in print appear objectionable."38 Despite the audience's being "infused with tears" and the "great applause" that Garnet received upon delivering subsequent comments justifying the address, the question of what the convention was willing to endorse in print took center stage.39 Debates over whether the convention would approve the address—either in its original or a modified form—spread over three of the convention's five total days. By a narrow vote, the convention rejected it, with vocal dissent coming from Frederick Douglass and William Wells Brown, both committed Garrisonian abolitionists at the time, meaning that they were politically committed to nonresistance.40 In 1847 Garnet delivered what seems to be the same address, one among several "addresses from distinguished members of the convention."41 (It is unclear whether changes were made to the 1847 oration. Garnet himself states in the preface to the Address that the print version has been "slightly modified" from the 1843 oration; no mention is made of its delivery in 1847.42) While the Minutes states that all the speeches "were received with enthusiastic admiration," William Cooper Nell's report provides a glimpse of the dissensus.43 According to Nell, Douglass delivered a counter address "[w]herein was ably upheld the doctrine of moral suasion in opposition to physical force"; it was "an offset to Mr. Garnett's address" and became "a protracted matter of debate."44 Since the speech was not "sent out with [the convention's] sanction" either in 1843 or 1847, Garnet [End Page 156] sought publication on his own, perhaps with financial backing from John Brown.45 The missed opportunity for having publication costs covered by the convention was one consequence, but more importantly for our purposes here, since the oration would not be printed as part of the convention's Minutes and Proceedings, Garnet would need to find another means of authorizing his address in print.46
Though it is no doubt true that Garnet reprinted the Appeal "to further preserve Walker's legacy," as scholars have suggested, the New York minister needed the cachet of someone like Walker.47 Reprinting provided the authorization that Garnet sought: combining the Appeal with Garnet's address under the same cover creates the impression that Walker (who died in 1830) endorses Garnet. It was a common practice for slave narratives to feature a preface penned by a public white figure. Though not all slave narratives included such an authenticating document, it became a prominent feature of the genre, one that can be observed in other types of black-authored books from the period—from novels to historical compendiums.48 The form of the pamphlet, however, afforded black authors a significant amount of "control over the production process," as Richard Newman, Patrick Rael, and Phillip Lapsansky explain. Such white-authored authenticating documents are not common in the period's black-authored pamphlets, Garnet's included.49 Nonetheless, the text of Walker's Appeal—placed before Garnet's Address within the volume—functions as a kind of long preface introducing Garnet's text, lending Garnet the credibility that Walker held among northern free blacks.50 Reprinting thus indicates Garnet's control over how to frame and authorize his text.51
Along with the Appeal's functioning as a preface, other components of the book/pamphlet format further authorize Garnet by highlighting parallels between Walker and Garnet. To clarify, the volume comprises five individual texts, four of which were penned by Garnet, and appear in the following order: a preface introducing the Appeal, a brief biography of Walker, Walker's Appeal, a preface introducing Garnet's Address, and Garnet's Address. None of the individual texts explicitly links Garnet to Walker; rather, Garnet relies on parallelism among the paratexts to forge connections between the two men and their words. The two prefaces and biography of Walker work together to position Garnet as an inheritor of Walker's legacy while obliquely identifying the convention leaders as being out of step with black radical tradition. In fact, the title page of Garnet's Address within the volume prominently displays its rejection by the national convention with the subheading, "(Rejected by the National Convention, 1843)," functioning [End Page 157] as a badge announcing Garnet's distance from his misguided contemporaries and preparing readers to recognize the nature of his affiliation with Walker.52 Garnet's preface to the Appeal identifies an audience ready for its reprinting: "so general is the desire to preserve his 'Appeal', that the subscriber has undertaken, and performed the task of re-publication."53 This focus on anticipation likewise characterizes the preface to Garnet's Address: "now in compliance with the earnest request of many who heard it, and in conformity to the wishes of numerous friends who are anxious to see it, the author now gives it to the public."54 It goes without saying that such forms of authorial and editorial promotion have a long history in the world of print, but Garnet's claims of public demand for Walker's text and for his own address are noteworthy as they work to forge connections between them. Along with anticipation, claims of exceptionality also introduce the texts. Both Walker's pamphlet and Garnet's speech caused unprecedented "commotion" and "discussion" in their original appearances: while Walker's "little book produced more commotion among slaveholders than any volume of its size that was ever issued from an American press," Garnet's address "elicited more discussion than any other paper that was ever brought before that, or any other deliberative body of colored persons, and their friends."55 More than generating attention, Garnet claims that both men received pushback from black critics for being too bold. Walker "had many enemies, and not a few were his brethren whose cause he espoused. They said that he went too far, and was making trouble. So the Jews spoke of Moses."56 Given that in the Appeal, Walker predicts opposition from "many of my brethren," perhaps Garnet strategically presents Walker's anticipation of criticism as having been fulfilled in another bid to connect his situation to Walker's.57 We know, however, that Garnet's address was "opposed" and "rejected by a small majority [of colored convention attendees]" for being "war-like."58 In these ways, Garnet's prefaces and biography of Walker create affiliation between Walker and Garnet via shared rejection and, ultimately, forecast Garnet's own future recovery.
Indeed, despite the opposition from within the black community that Walker is said to have encountered, Garnet indicates that Walker is now held in "very high esteem" and predicts his future ascension: "When the history of the emancipation of the bondmen of America shall be written, whatever name shall be placed first on the list of heroes, that of the author of the Appeal [sic] will not be second."59 At the same time, Garnet reprints the Appeal with an awareness that it seems to have faded from public memory: Following the flurry of journalistic reporting on the Appeal in 1830 [End Page 158] and some scattered references and excerpts, overt references to Walker seem to disappear from print—until Garnet's reprinting.60 Moreover, the guiding logic of the paratext implies that Garnet's contemporaries have deviated from Walker's wisdom, evident in their rejection of Garnet's oration. This is where Garnet's reprinting comes into play: By reprinting the Appeal, Garnet aims to regenerate Walker's influence, the volume concurrently recording Walker's esteemed reputation among African Americans even as it works to create it. This performativity (whereby the act of making a claim in print can participate in making it so) is a commonly cited component of print culture.61 But in Garnet's volume, the effects of performativity are yet more striking, for separating the paratextual matter from the main text(s) proves difficult.
Gérard Genette theorizes that paratextual elements guide readers into a relationship with the main text, but in the case of Garnet's volume, the lines distinguishing paratext from main text are blurred.62 Is Garnet's address the featured text, indirectly introduced by Walker? Is Walker's Appeal the main text, in need of being reintroduced to an audience that has forgotten it? (On the title page of the volume, "Walker's Appeal" appears first and in the largest type on the page, the word "Appeal" in boldface.) Are both Walker's and Garnet's works headliners? (If there are two main texts, does the order of their appearance on the title page reflect hierarchical importance or merely the reality that one must be listed before the other?) Similarly, does the subject matter of a text or its authorship take priority in attributing significance? (On the one hand, Walker is the author of only one of the five total texts. On the other hand, Walker is either the subject or author of three of the five.) The volume seems to strategically obscure which text is the main text, which enables Garnet to have it both ways: Walker is presented as the already-established black leader who authorizes Garnet's address, even as Garnet's book participates in the act of recovering Walker. To put it another way, the paratext concurrently claims Walker as Garnet's ghost authorizer, while it serves as a tool for Garnet to restore the authority of Walker. (See Figure 1.)
Walker and Garnet Theorize Affiliation and Recirculation
With the previous section having established the role of the paratext in clarifying the nature of affiliation between Walker and Garnet, we are in a better [End Page 159]
position to recognize the intertextuality between Walker's Appeal and Garnet's Address. To be sure, Garnet's volume presents two political theorists in dialogue with one another, despite the claim that Garnet's Address is a less compelling echo of the Appeal.63 Recirculation and affiliation emerge as central concepts in this dialogue. Both writers present recirculation as enabling new meaning to accrue, or more precisely, as allowing lines of affiliation that have been obscured by racism to come into view. Walker and Garnet present themselves as African American readers uniquely able to [End Page 160] comprehend the Bible as well as the founding documents and other important texts from revolutionary America. After quoting a passage from the Bible about spreading Christianity to "all people," Walker criticizes white America for extending slavery rather than Christianity to Africans: "Do you understand the above, Americans? We are a people, notwithstanding many of you doubt it. You have the Bible in your hands, with this very injunction."64 The Appeal locates the Bible in the "hands" of white Americans, but they are unable to "understand" it. Walker, as the black reader, can understand the book, recognize whites' misreadings, and articulate a corrective interpretation. In Walker's estimation, white Americans are just as inept at grasping their own Declaration of Independence. After excerpting the passage (and reconfiguring the typography) that includes the words, "ALL men are created EQUAL!" Walker continues: "See your declaration, Americans!! Do you understand your own language? Hear your language."65 Marcy J. Dinius has perceptively demonstrated Walker's strategic manipulation of typography for the benefit of a black readership with varying levels of literacy, but here the italics, boldface, and full and small capitals visually serve as an aid to whites, who have, in effect, disregarded this portion of the text.66 Encapsulating two forms of sensory interaction, Walker's commands to "see" and to "hear" the passage about equality underscore his own ability as a black mediator to draw whites into a new relationship with the founding document. The commands underscore by way of implied contrast his own intimate understanding of the very document whose guarantees, according to much of antebellum white America, do not extend to black Americans.
To return to Gates's concept of the talking book, what surfaces in Walker's text is a modified form of the trope: both the Bible and national founding documents "speak" to Walker whereas they prove elusive to the comprehension of white Americans. Central to Walker's modification of the trope, then, is the recirculation of excerpts from the originals. Making the excerpts visually present (as opposed to paraphrasing them) allows Walker to showcase his familiarity with them and his interpretive acumen while placing the Bible and national founding documents within black intellectual territory. Via recirculation, Walker reworks the relationship between black Americans and specific texts that, according to mainstream racist thinking, either do not concern them (Declaration of Independence) or legitimize their status as servants (the Bible).
Garnet's Address likewise reinterprets a phrase important to the narrative of the nation's founding, sharing in this modified form of the talking [End Page 161] book trope: "The sentiments of their revolutionary orators fell in burning eloquence upon their hearts, and with one voice they cried, "liberty or death."67 Garnet presents Patrick Henry's call for "liberty or death" as emanating from "revolutionary orators" and as later claimed by a collective ("the colonists") as if the expression were group-authored. In fact, the originator of the phrase is not important enough for Garnet to mention. Garnet first underscores the significance of the expression: "O, what a sentence was that!" Yet it is Garnet as a black reader and commentator who imparts to the phrase new meaning: "Among the diversity of opinions that are entertained in regard to physical resistance, there are but few found to gainsay that stern declaration. We are among those who do not."68 The opening of the Address establishes the "we" as "your brethren of the north, east, and west" and the "you" as those in enslavement.69 Free people of color, then, become the true inheritors of the original phrase, even though the history of Garnet's speech—rejected specifically for endorsing physical resistance—makes the statement counterfactual. (The "we," that is, are not in agreement on the issue of physical resistance.) The rhetorical strategy of the Address is to create a unified "we" on the issue of physical resistance and to incorporate the "you" so that those in enslavement come to espouse the same sentiment, ultimately establishing the imperative encapsulated by "liberty or death"—the right and obligation to "fight in the holy cause of Freedom"—as extending to African Americans. Garnet thus presents himself as part of a "we" readily able to interpret the meaning and value of the original. Having been distorted by white interpreters, the meaning of "liberty or death" is restored by way of a black writer recirculating and recontextualizing it.
Both Walker and Garnet also revise racist understanding in the period of the relationships of African ancestors to descendants, which corresponds with the value placed on affiliation evident in the material practices used to create Garnet's volume. According to the Appeal, white Americans believe that the descendants of Africans are "to be an inheritance to them [white Americans] forever," a phrase that appears (with slight modification) five times.70 The future of African descendants in the US, in other words, would follow the path of their ancestors: enslavement. Walker reworks the idea of who counts as an ancestor by incorporating specific ancestors into his account and prognosticating future descendants. In particular, Walker identifies "that mighty son of Africa," "hannibal," as an important ancestor and forecasts the arrival of a key descendant, a future Hannibal: "God will indeed, deliver you through him from your deplorable and wretched [End Page 162] condition under the Christians of America."71 Rather than an African history void of impressive forebears, as whites such as Thomas Jefferson had claimed, Walker connects a glorious past to a future in which an earthly "salvation" will be secured.72
Garnet, too, reminds black readers of important forefathers. Near the end of the Address, Garnet identifies several black insurgents whose names will be "transcribe[d]" together "on the same monument with Moses": Denmark Vesey, Touissant L'Ouverture, Nathaniel Turner, Joseph Cinque, and Madison Washington among others. The penultimate paragraph enumerates a series of questions about the relationship of forebears to descendants: "In the name of God we ask, are you men? Where is the blood of your fathers? Has it all run out of your veins? Awake, awake; millions of voices are calling you! Your dead fathers speak to you from their graves."73 In this context, the fathers are the revolutionaries whom Garnet has listed. By way of the material practice of reprinting, Garnet need not mention another father: David Walker. Garnet's presentation of a new line of ancestors and descendants thus corresponds with the material practice of reprinting to create affiliation: packaging a reprint of a father (Walker) with the text of a descendant (Garnet).
Reprinting as Generative
Despite the rejection of Garnet's address in 1843 and 1847, the New Yorker's influence was beginning to be felt, particularly on the issue of physical resistance. Garnet succeeded at the 1847 convention in having a "resolution" passed in support of black parents "instruct[ing] their sons in the art of war."74 While this early indication of changing sentiment among black leaders on the subject of resistance points to the influence of Garnet, three significant events over the course of 1848 and 1849—after Garnet recirculated Walker's Appeal—suggest the power of reprinting.75 Specifically, the reprinting of the Appeal coincides with the growing radicalization of African American abolitionists, Frederick Douglass among them. Though Douglass had voted against Garnet's speech in October of 1847, he reprinted Garnet's biography of Walker in July of 1848 in his newspaper, The North Star: Douglass was now a participant in bringing Walker's militancy back into circulation.76 One year later, in June of 1849, Douglass delivered an address at Boston's Faneuil Hall that, as scholars have acknowledged, announced a new attitude toward violent resistance: "I should welcome the intelligence [End Page 163] to-morrow, should it come, that the slaves had risen in the South, and that the sable arms which had been engaged in beautifying and adorning the South were engaged in spreading death and devastation there."77 If we consider Douglass as a barometer, the shift in sentiment occurred relatively quickly.78 However, Douglass is not the sole indicator: In January 1849, a few months before Douglass's Boston address, the Ohio Colored Convention passed a resolution to purchase and distribute five hundred copies of Garnet's volume.79 While scholarship acknowledges the increasingly militant stance of black leadership, Garnet's reprinting of the Appeal has not been identified as a contributing factor—in part, I suggest, because of a failure to take reprinting seriously as a generative act.80
Notwithstanding neglect of Garnet's reprinting, African American reprinting practices have received renewed attention in recent years.81 In her focus on antebellum periodical culture and gift books, Meredith L. McGill delineates how the "popular circulation of uncopyrighted texts helped to give certain kinds of writing by socially marginal authors a powerful cultural presence."82 In the world of periodical reprinting, an author's name was just as likely to be omitted as it was to be included. In this way, the period's culture of reprinting granted people of color and women "access to print while suspending or deferring the question of authorial identity." The evangelical press in particular helped black authors obtain a wide range of readers, namely through dissemination of "uncopyrighted tracts and periodicals." While antebellum reprinting was most commonly associated with periodical culture, the paratextual elements of Garnet's volume convey a sense of concern that this act of reprinting preserve, rather than obscure, the author's identity.83
Indeed, Garnet's preface to the Appeal makes clear that permission had been secured from Mrs. Dewson, Walker's widow. Amid the period's numerous unauthorized reprints of all kinds, which circulated mundanely, Garnet is careful to identify permission to reprint as having been formally acquired. To deduce the significance of Garnet's statement, it is helpful to consider authorship's status within the period's legal realm. McGill underscores that antebellum copyright law (perhaps surprisingly) facilitated "the circumscription of authors' rights" as republican notions of the public's need for access to certain types of print bumped up against claims of ownership of intellectual property.84 For writers of color, claims to intellectual property carried a heightened sense of vulnerability, as William Yates's Rights of Colored Men (1838) makes clear. Commenting sarcastically on the ways in which the legal realm attempted to concretize race in order to withhold legal protections from people of color, Yates imagines a scenario in which black [End Page 164] identity disqualifies one from the property rights of authorship: "Let us suppose a case. A copyright is pirated by a New Haven bookseller. The author brings his action before Judge Daggett, and bookseller pleads in bar that the plaintiff is a colored man, and on this plea issue is joined. … It would also be necessary, before going into this evidence, to settle the exact quantity of colored blood in a man's veins that disqualifies him from claiming literary property."85 While neither Walker's three editions nor Garnet's volume bears a statement of copyright, Garnet in his role as a compiler reflects a heightened awareness of the very vulnerability experienced by authors of color that Yates identifies.86
Yates recognizes that an author's blackness jeopardized the ability to claim one's intellectual property, but the period's lack of international copyright law created another level of vulnerability for authors. (Debates in the US over establishing an international copyright law came into full swing in the late 1830s and would persist with varying degrees of intensity until such a law was passed in 1891.)87 An unauthorized reprint of Walker's Appeal appeared in Hamilton, Ontario, in February of 1851, without Walker's name. The book's title page identifies the author as "Paola Brown," who had led a group of free blacks from Ohio into a Canadian settlement.88 Five months later, Thomas Smallwood published in Toronto a narrative of his escape from slavery in Maryland. In it, he rebukes Paola Brown for having plagiarized Walker's text.89 To return to McGill, if the period's culture of reprinting reflects the absence of international copyright law, transnational reprinting in this instance paradoxically enabled Smallwood to police the attribution of authorship of the Appeal.90 And while we tend to think of the lack of international copyright law as affecting European authors whose texts were being reprinted in the US, we might wonder about the international lines of reprinting involving African American authors cutting in the other direction.
Aside from matters of copyright and authorized reprinting, Brown's and Smallwood's books contribute to evidence confirming that Garnet's edition was instrumental in getting the Appeal into the hands of black readers and writers in the US and beyond. While Brown had drawn from Walker's third edition, Smallwood turns to Garnet's book (a reprinting of Walker's second edition) to expose Brown, reproducing (with attribution) the entirety of Garnet's Preface and biography of Walker. Clearly, then, both Walker's 1830 third edition and Garnet's 1848 volume were in Ontario in 1851, but Garnet's book is the one that Smallwood drew upon to expose Brown. Back in the US, in 1863, colored convention leader Amos Beman praised Garnet's edition, calling it a "volume of fire" and recommending that it be [End Page 165] reprinted for Union soldiers.91 Though Beman's suggestion did not come to pass, Garnet's reprinting of the Appeal generated, as we have seen, a number of effects: helping to radicalize black leadership in the late 1840s, circulating Walker's text across international borders, and in Smallwood's use of Garnet's volume, facilitating the safeguarding of authorial identity. But the story of the volume's nineteenth-century afterlife does not conclude here. The remaining section examines another recirculation practice emanating from the volume: the recycling of Garnet's frontispiece, raising a new set of questions about the implications of recirculation practices for creating lines of affiliation.
Recycling Black Militant Iconography
What does the recycling of an image originally associated with black militancy have to tell us? As previously mentioned, the only image in Garnet's volume functions as a frontispiece to Walker's Appeal, which was a new addition to the 1848 reprinting of Walker's second edition. The image would be recycled at least twice more: it was reprinted in 1859 on a circular advertising a new Society over which Garnet presided—the African Civilization Society, which maintained a political platform, as will be shown, that prioritized black agency, though it was not entirely congruous with Garnet's earlier militancy. A modified version of the image would surface in 1864 as the frontispiece to Hollis Read's The Negro Problem Solved, which endorsed the American Colonization Society (ACS). Attention to the recycling of this image reiterates what we already know to be true of anti-slavery iconography: its malleability. That is, an image deployed for one purpose can, in subsequent iterations, be put to quite different ends, even as the residue of its previous meaning typically sets parameters around its new meaning. But, more importantly, the image's later appearances have something to tell us about the uses and consequences of that malleability. The various recyclings of the frontispiece reveal that competing anti-slavery platforms surprisingly sought print affiliation with black militancy or, at the very least, with an image originally deployed for a black militant text. More than reminding us that images as well as texts could work to create print affiliation, examination of subsequent iterations of Garnet's frontispiece advances one of this article's main claims: a book history approach to Garnet's volume complicates conventional wisdom about the place of black militancy in the period's anti-slavery print culture. [End Page 166]
The image is an engraving, featuring an African descendant on a mountaintop. Dressed in robe and sandals, the central figure receives a scroll from the heavens with the words "Liberty" and "Justice" (in Latin) visible. The clothing and scene harken to the Hebrew Bible's account of Moses on the mountaintop of Sinai receiving the law. In the background, masses of people ascend the mountain; they seem to be on a journey to join the Moses-figure, representative of a community awaiting divine sanction for their escape from bondage. A hooded figure greets them at the top; his staff and position of authority, symbolized by another figure's bowing to him, suggest that it might be the same Moses-figure from an earlier moment in time. The mountainous landscape described in the Hebrew Bible rendered in the image represents a liminal space: having left Egypt, the group struggles to maintain faith in the intervening years before arriving at the promised land. Moses's receipt of the law confirms that despite the community's hardships, the promise of deliverance was fulfilled. (See Figure 2.)
In a general sense, the image corresponds with the jeremiad, the message of divine justice evident in both Walker's and Garnet's texts: God administers justice, and African Americans can have faith that God will deliver them from oppression.92 Divine justice could take many forms, and if white America would not repent and make good, God would bring justice via black rebellion. More than justifying rebellion, however, both Walker and Garnet work to spread the responsibility for rebellion. While Walker forecasts that God would send a leader to guide black Americans to deliverance, it would take more than a leader to execute rebellion.93 Specifically, Walker identifies resistance as a religious obligation of the (male) enslaved: "The man who would not fight under our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, in the glorious and heavenly cause of freedom and of God … ought to be kept with all of his children or family, in slavery, or in chains, to be butchered by his cruel enemies."94 If Walker's jeremiad functions to persuade whites to end slavery, the religious rhetoric also aims to compel blacks to ready themselves for resistance.
This idea of resistance as spiritually compulsory is yet more overt in Garnet's "Address." To remain enslaved without resistance is "sinful," for enslavement jeopardizes submission to Divine law:
to such degradation it is sinful in the extreme for you to make voluntary submission. The divine commandments, you are in duty bound to reverence, and obey. If you do not obey them you will surely meet with the displeasure of the Almighty. … Therefore it is your solemn and imperative duty to use [End Page 167] every means, both moral, intellectual, and physical, that promise success.95
Here Garnet casts enslavement as indicative of "voluntary submission" in order to bolster a sense of individual agency. The engraving thus connects the black American's plight to the Biblical account of deliverance, not only justifying the call to rebellion evident in both Walker's and Garnet's texts but also making it spiritually compulsory. The black Moses iconography weaves together divine justification for and spiritual obligation to rebel.
Along with validating resistance, Walker's and Garnet's texts, as previously addressed, counter African colonization, but how does the image of a black Moses correspond with an anti-colonizationist platform? Walker's and Garnet's focus on citizenship and assertion that black Americans will not leave makes the image of Moses leading an exodus potentially incongruous. In fact, the ACS had already drawn upon the story of Moses leading [End Page 168] the people out of Egypt as evidence of the earliest "colonization society that undertook three thousand years ago, to colonize in the land of their fathers, three millions of slaves."96 If the Exodus story was inherently ambivalent when employed as an analog for the future of African descendants, colonizationists were already adapting it to their own ends. The semiotic ambiguity of a black Moses was not lost on Garnet: "It is impossible, like the children of Israel, to make a grand Exodus from the land of bondage. The Pharaohs Are On Both Sides Of The Blood-Red Waters! You cannot remove en masse, to the dominions of the British Queen—nor can you pass through Florida, and overrun Texas, and at last find peace in Mexico."97 The engraving supports the book's focus on likening African descendants to the "children of Israel," even as the text disabuses readers of the notion that Garnet advocates literal exodus.98
A little over a decade later the image would appear again, this time in a different publication connected to Garnet—a circular issued by the African Civilization Society.99 (See Figure 3.) It is a reprinting of the engraving from Garnet's frontispiece. Garnet's abolitionist strategy had changed somewhat since 1848; he was now the president of the African Civilization Society, which endorsed the regeneration of Africa via small-scale emigration of qualified black Americans. (The African Civilization Society—Garnet's Society—should not be confused with the American Colonization Society [ACS], though such confusion was common in the period.) In its printed documents, Garnet's Society made the case that the cultivation of cotton in Africa would serve two aims: the economic development of Africa would help to stabilize ("Christianize" and "civilize") the region, while providing an international competitor for American cotton produced in the South would undermine slavery in the US. It identified as an abolitionist organization, then, that claimed to benefit both Africans and African Americans. As an organization founded by an African American that aimed to attack US slavery from the Niger Valley (present-day Nigeria), the African Civilization Society prided itself on the opportunities it provided for African Americans to exert agency.100 In black northerners, however, Garnet met a skeptical audience. Fellow black abolitionists, including Frederick Douglass and William Wells Brown, warned that the African Civilization Society was too similar to the American Colonization Society and openly criticized both.101 Among whites, there was certainly overlap in membership between the two organizations. Historians continue to parse out the competing motives, goals, and interests of those involved in the wide range of colonization and emigration schemes of the period. Nonetheless, Garnet himself rebuked [End Page 169] the American Colonization Society.102 Joel Schor, Richard K. MacMaster, and Ousmane Power-Greene make clear that Garnet's involvement in the African Civilization Society should not be understood as an endorsement of colonization.103
Regardless of Garnet's own anti-colonization sentiments, the reprinted image on the African Civilization Society's circular ran the risk of being thought to promote black exodus. Along with Garnet, the Society maintained that it did not advocate the relocation of African Americans to Africa; rather, the Society would facilitate the emigration of a small percentage [End Page 170] of the free black population—"those who are anxious to go"—to "civilize" and "Christianize" Africa. But the public had difficulty distinguishing between the two organizations, perhaps for good reason. Two different groups with sharply differing intentions—the ACS as well as critics of emigration and colonization—strategically worked to collapse distinctions between the ACS and Garnet's Society. First, white colonizationists connected to the ACS used the terms "colonization" and "emigration" as synonyms. Despite Garnet's public condemnation of the ACS, the African Repository and Colonial Journal (the print venue of the ACS) ran a couple of articles about Garnet's Society in 1858 and 1859. Without explicitly connecting the two societies, the articles may have made it appear that they worked together.104 The ACS no doubt desired association with Garnet's Society given its urgent desire for black support: Free blacks had largely rejected the ACS, and the ACS recognized its public relations problem.105 In other words, the ACS stood to gain from the perception that the ACS and Garnet's Society worked in concert. Second, in an effort to discredit Garnet's Society, critics of both emigration and colonization purposefully "conflated" the two organizations, as Ousmane K. Power-Greene explains.106 In February of 1859, Douglass' Monthly printed a cantankerous letter from Garnet, goading Douglass to explain his opposition to the African Civilization Society. In his reply, Douglass likens the African Civilization Society's aims to those of the ACS, calling Garnet's Society "that new Colonization scheme."107 As there were efforts underway to associate Garnet's organization with the ACS (and black exodus), the image on the Society's circular may have inadvertently complemented those efforts. If the image of a black Moses as the frontispiece to Walker's Appeal within Garnet's volume benefited from the accompanying explanation that it did not represent literal exodus, the lack of a similar commentary on the African Civilization Society's circular would have made the image in its new iteration more difficult to interpret.
Despite a lack of commentary on the image in its new context, the image presents the economic development of Africa by Americans as divinely ordained.108 The circular quotes from the Society's constitution: Via "introduc[ing] lawful commerce into Africa," African descendants everywhere may come closer to experiencing God's deliverance. Here the image of a black Moses works to underscore a black nationality that lacks geographic rootedness. While the original frontispiece conferred divine authorization to physical resistance and bolstered connection between free and enslaved African Americans on US soil, the 1859 image casts resistance as a matter of international business and imagines black identity as shared across national boundaries. [End Page 171]
Garnet likely hoped the image would play a small role in associating the African Civilization Society with the black agency of the original image. While black agency takes the form of militancy in Garnet's frontispiece, here it presents as economic development in Africa. It is true that the reuse of the image may have been an economical choice, as no changes were made to the original image. That is, the plates that created the frontispiece for Garnet's edition of the Appeal could simply be reused. Even so, given the controversy surrounding Garnet's Society, the image provided a direct link to a black militant text, which could help Garnet shape public perception of his new organization. Specifically, for viewers of the circular familiar with Garnet's book, the image of black militancy could foster perception of the Society as black-led, assertive of black citizenship, and at odds with the ACS. Even if they were not familiar with Garnet's frontispiece, the image of a black Moses could communicate black empowerment. In short, economic incentive could work in concert with other motives for recycling the image.
A version of the image would appear yet again five years later, this time accompanying a text that was not issued by Garnet. This new iteration stretched print affiliation to its extremes. Though not the same image, the 1864 frontispiece of Hollis Read's The Negro Problem Solved is based upon the 1848 engraving. (See Figure 4.) While the 1848 image corresponds with Garnet's assertions of US citizenship rights and the 1859 image promotes Garnet's African Civilization Society, the 1864 frontispiece confers a new meaning at odds with the first two images, even as it works to fashion congruity. Read's frontispiece accompanies a book that, while foregrounding the author's opposition to slavery, endorses the ACS. Having served as a missionary in India and agent for the American Tract Society, Read was also affiliated with the ACS.109 The title of Read's book promises an answer to the question of the future of African descendants in the US, and the book's contents provide it: the grand exodus that Garnet and Walker as well as the African Civilization Society denounced. Over three iterations, then, an image originally associated with black militancy accrues radically different political meaning. Tracing the afterlife of the original image offers a window into not only the protean nature but also the political value of the iconography of black militancy.
In Read's frontispiece, significant alterations have been made to the original image. (See Figure 5.) Marked with palm trees, lush vegetation, and the sea, the 1864 engraving does not depict the desert or mountainous wilderness but, instead, what appears to be Liberia (given the book's praise for the ACS whose settlement was Liberia). Unlike the 1848 frontispiece, it offers [End Page 172]
no glimpse of the community trudging through a difficult landscape. In fact, any sense of hardship or struggle has been replaced with a recognizable sign of reigning peace—the lion lies with the lamb.110 Just as importantly, in the foreground of the image lies a spear, signaling the casting aside of physical resistance. Black militant imagery thus required merely a scene change and a different accompanying text to communicate a sharply different ideological meaning. Read's frontispiece visually depicts the book's focus on likening black Americans to historical Israelites, much like Garnet's frontispiece. But, importantly, Read foregrounds literal exodus as central to the comparison.111 In this way, Read draws on the ACS's tradition of marshaling the exodus story as pro–African colonization. If Garnet's frontispiece works to cast resistance as spiritually authorized, and the African Civilization circular [End Page 173] presents African development as divinely ordained, Read's frontispiece likewise depicts African colonization as cause for participants, "like Israel of old," to be "[r]ewarded double."112
While we lack information on the identity of the artist or engraver and the process by which the frontispiece was commissioned or selected, it seems likely that the 1864 frontispiece is intended to remind readers of the image's former iteration(s). The technology of engraving ensured that changes could not have been made to the original engraving's metal plates; rather, new plates would have to be produced. Little time or money would have been saved by using the original image as a model. Why, then, wasn't an original engraving created? One possibility is that Read's frontispiece was intended to call to mind the 1859 circular of the African Civilization Society. In fact, Read explicitly refers to the Civilization Society in the book's final pages as one of various organizations promoting colonization and as the "most suitable and hopeful agency to work out the final destiny of this people."113 Mention of the African Civilization Society follows several positive references to the ACS and "present schemes of colonization."114 In this way, Read follows the precedent of white colonizationists who strove to present the ACS and African Civilization Society as working in harmony, for the ACS was desperate for black support. Read thus fits into the longstanding tradition of white colonizationists' clamoring for black endorsement of the ACS, which suggests that via the frontispiece, Read sought another means to fabricate affiliation.115 (Further complicating matters, Garnet had apparently severed ties with the African Civilization Society by 1864.116) While antebellum racial conventions all but dictated that slave narratives lead with the authentication of a white-authored preface, the print culture of African colonization showcases a racial reversal: texts that delineated white-led colonization schemes prominently displayed endorsements from free people of color whenever they could be secured.117 Though African American endorsements were the exception rather than the rule, their visual conspicuousness worked to mask the broader contempt in which the black community held the ACS. If Read's image is a modification of the African Civilization Society's circular, which was itself a recycled image of black militancy, Read's frontispiece works to falsely imply that the ACS had the support of African Americans, including Garnet. The similar engravings create the illusion of Read as sharing the vision of Garnet's Society.
It is just as likely, however, that Read's frontispiece was intended to remind readers of the 1848 frontispiece of Walker's Appeal in Garnet's volume. In his endorsement of the ACS at the late date of 1864, Read was well [End Page 174]
aware that the black community by and large had long rejected it. Read needed to present the form of African colonization promoted by the ACS as the opportunity to exert black agency rather than as a concerted effort among whites to rid the nation of free people of color, as its critics maintained. To this end, to be associated with Garnet's militancy was valuable. In The Negro Problem Solved, Read excerpts at length from William Wells Brown's The Black Man: His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements (1863), which includes a brief biography of Garnet.118 The excerpted portion of The Black Man refers positively to the speech Garnet had delivered at the national colored convention in 1843, the very speech published in Garnet's 1848 volume.119 In this instance of recirculation of Brown's description of Garnet, Read oddly incorporates praise for a militant speech of Garnet's that rejects colonization and asserts black citizenship without acknowledging that Garnet's words stand in direct contrast to Read's own [End Page 175] argument. While there are a number of possibilities for making sense of this curious instance of recirculation, I propose that this indirect endorsement of Garnet's militancy could be helpful for validating the ACS.120 Taken together, Read's reference to Garnet's oration and his recycling of an image that originated with the publication of that oration suggest that he was familiar with Garnet's volume and found indirect affiliation with it advantageous. Specifically, the recycled image, if based on Garnet's frontispiece, works to fashion an affiliation between the ACS and black militancy, communicating that both give pride of place to black agency.
My examination of the ends to which an image of black militancy was put offers insight into the print culture of the antebellum period in general and of abolitionism in particular. With respect to the former, we know that printers, in an effort to save costs, commonly recycled woodcut images, primarily ornamental devices. This kind of recycling is most evident in periodicals as well as other forms of ephemeral print. My study of the possible origins of Read's frontispiece suggests that more complex forms of image recycling occurred in the period—beyond the realms of economic incentive and periodical print. With respect to abolitionist print culture, while scholarship has established the malleability of anti-slavery imagery, Read's frontispiece tells us that this quality extended to black militant iconography in particular. Though similar to abolitionists' methods of utilizing images from the print culture of slavery, Read's adaptation of a black militant image carries different implications. In his study of the images of slavery, Marcus Wood establishes that abolitionists were able to "accomplish the reactivation of the runaway icon," the woodcut depicting a walking figure that often accompanied notices of runaways, which ran in antebellum newspapers across the country.121 In one example from the Anti-Slavery Record, Wood demonstrates that the recirculated image of the fugitive slave is "identical in every detail" but is accompanied by pages of text that "rethink it."122 An image produced to commodify the enslaved is redeployed by an abolitionist newspaper to comment on the cruelty of slavery, stir sympathy for the slave, and elicit censure of the plantation system. In this context, the recirculated image's semiotic power hinged on its immediate recognizability, the audience's ability to recall its original meaning and significance. To return to Read's modification of an image originally associated with black militancy and later Garnet's African Civilization Society, we find a "reactivation" that operates differently. Specifically, the image would not have been as readily recognizable as the runaway slave woodcut, which had become prolific in antebellum print culture. Whether Read's readers could bring to the frontispiece [End Page 176] the image's previous meanings is less clear. If readers did recognize the image, they would be implicitly directed in the accompanying text to detect similarity rather than difference between the frontispiece and the prior forms the image took. Although Read's book does not comment on its frontispiece, we can infer that the black agency associated with the earlier iterations was intended to transfer to the new one. As Read presents it, African colonization offered the opportunity for people of color to experience agency unhindered by US racism: "They must go where they can be men, and not chattels or tools."123 Regardless of which earlier iteration of the image, if any, readers recognized, black agency was intended to convey, even as the image in its new context was stripped of militancy. Familiar (perhaps) yet transformed, an image of antebellum black militancy thus recirculated while becoming unrecognizable.
Both Garnet and Read, interested in reinvigorating somewhat unpopular political ideas, pragmatically recognized the potential power of recirculation practices for broadcasting, and in the case of Read, fabricating affiliation. Thanks to the work of Eric Gardner, we have a clear sense that nineteenth-century African American print turns up in "unexpected places."124 By illuminating overlap in the print of black militancy and African colonization, this article adds that attention to nineteenth-century reprinting and recycling provides insight into the surprising broader appeal of (subtle) association with black militancy. While Walker and Garnet closely followed the arguments being made by the ACS in order to counter them, the ACS and its supporters paid attention to the writings of black militants who were among the ACS's most vociferous critics. Future studies attentive to such mutual monitoring may prompt further revision of our understanding of black militancy's place in the period's print culture. It is worth returning to Amos Beman's desire in 1863 that Garnet's "volume of fire" be reprinted for Union soldiers. I have claimed that recirculation practices reveal that the response to black militant print among white anti-slavery advocates began with repudiation but eventually became less uniform. If Beman's idea had materialized and Garnet's book had become readily available to Union soldiers, the shift in response to black militancy would indeed be remarkable. Even without such a Union edition having been issued, in the case study provided, black militancy emerges less as the sensational phenomenon preserved in our historical accounts and more as cultural capital harnessed to revitalize specific political projects. [End Page 177]
Lori Leavell is an Assistant Professor of English and Graduate Coordinator at the University of Central Arkansas. Her research interests are in nineteenth-century African American literature, the US South, and book history. Based on archival research conducted as a Research Fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Harrison Institute at the University of Virginia, her scholarship has recently appeared in the Mississippi Quarterly and Callaloo.
A grant from the University Research Council at the University of Central Arkansas supported my archival research at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Much appreciation goes to Krystal Appiah, Katelyn Knox, and Samantha M. Sommers for the helpful feedback they provided on drafts of the article.
1. Henry Highland Garnet and David Walker, (New York: J.H. Tobitt, 1848), Walker's Appeal, With a Brief Sketch of His Life. By Henry Highland Garnet. And Also Garnet's Address to the Slaves of the United States of America, ed. William Loren Katz (New York: Arno Press, 1969), 94. Citations refer to the Arno edition. This volume will be cited hereafter as either "Garnet, preface to Walker's Appeal," "Garnet, 'Brief Sketch,'" "Walker, Appeal," "Garnet, preface to Garnet's Address," or "Garnet, Address," depending on which text in the volume is being referred to.
2. Garnet, Address, 96.
3. Both conventions were held in the state of New York with the 1843 meeting convening in Buffalo and the 1847 meeting in Troy. Howard Holman Bell, ed., Minutes of the Proceedings of the National Negro Conventions, 1830–1864. (New York: Arno Press, 1969), (1843), 13. Bell's compilation of published minutes uses separate pagination for each convention year. Citations provide the convention year parenthetically.
4. Garnet reprinted Walker's second edition. While it is standard practice to cite from Walker's third edition, all references will be to the second edition as it appeared in Garnet's volume. For scholarship on Walker's Appeal (apart from the Garnet edition) that applies the methodologies of book history, see Peter P. Hinks, To Awaken My Afflicted Brethren: David Walker and the Antebellum Problem of Slave Resistance (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997); Donald M. Jacobs, "David Walker and William Lloyd Garrison: Racial Cooperation and the Shaping of Boston Abolition," in Courage and Conscience: Black and White Abolitionists in Boston, ed. Donald M. Jacobs (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993): 1–20; Robert S. Levine, Dislocating Race and Nation: Episodes in Nineteenth-Century American Literary Nationalism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008); Marcy J. Dinius, "'Look!! Look!!! at This!!!!': The Radical Typography of David Walker's Appeal," PMLA 126, no. 1 (2011): 55–72.
5. While extended examinations of Garnet's volume are lacking, see the following for scholarship on Garnet: Joel Schor, Henry Highland Garnet: A Voice of Black Radicalism in the Nineteenth Century (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977); Earl Ofari, Let Your Motto Be Resistance: The Life and Thought of Henry Highland Garnet, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1972); Richard K. MacMaster, "Henry Highland Garnet and the African Civilization Society," Journal of Presbyterian History 48, no. 2 (1970): 95–112; Steven H. Shiffrin, "The Rhetoric of Black Violence in the Antebellum Period: Henry Highland Garnet," Journal of Black Studies 2, no. 1 (1971): 45–56.
6. All three editions of the Appeal released by Walker—the first in 1829 and the other two in 1830—include the following language on the title page: "published by David Walker." Throughout the article, I refer to the image of a black Moses from the 1848 volume as "Garnet's frontispiece" to underscore that Garnet added it in his reprinting of the Appeal. To clarify, it is not the frontispiece to the volume but functions as a frontispiece to Walker's text within the volume.
7. Hollis Read, The Negro Problem Solved; Or, Africa as She Was, as She Is, and as She Shall Be. Her Curse and Her Cure (New York: A.A. Constantine, 1864; Google Books, 2011), https://books.google.com/books?id=eHhXAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&sougoogle.com#v=onepage&q&f=false [End Page 178]
8. Gérard Genette describes paratext as "verbal or other productions. … [that] surround and extend [the text], precisely in order to present it." Furthermore, "For us, accordingly, the paratext is what enables a text to become a book and to be offered as such to its readers and, more generally, to the public." Genette, Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation, 1987, trans. Jane E. Lewin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 1.
9. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London: Verso, 1991); Trish Loughran, The Republic in Print: Print Culture in the Age of U.S. Nation Building, 1770–1870 (New York: Columbia UP, 2007).
10. See Meredith McGill, "Reprinting," The Encyclopedia of the Novel, ed. Peter Melville Logan (Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 677.
11. "The explication of the trope of the Talking Book enables us to witness the extent of intertextuality and presupposition at work in the first discrete period in Afro-American literary history." Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 131, 132.
12. Joseph Rezek, "Print, Writing, and the Difference Media Make: Revisiting The Signifying Monkey after Book History," EAL 50, no. 3 (2015): 891. Leon Jackson has similar critiques of Gates' methodologies. Jackson, "The Talking Book and the Talking Book Historian: African American Cultures of Print—The State of the Discipline," Book History 13 (2010): 251–308.
13. Scholarship groups David Walker and, with less frequency, Henry Highland Garnet with Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner, black revolutionaries who masterminded slave conspiracies or launched revolts. See, for example, Benjamin Quarles, Black Abolitionists (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969), and Robert S. Levine, Dislocating Race and Nation: Episodes in Nineteenth–Century American Literary Nationalism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008), 113.
14. See, for example, William Loren Katz, introduction to Walker's Appeal in Four Articles by David Walker and An Address to the Slaves of the United States of America by Henry Highland Garnet (New York: Arno Press, 1969), i–vii; Jane H. Pease and William H. Pease, "Black Power: The Debate in 1840," Phylon 29, no. 1 (1968): 19–26.
15. See, for example, Vincent Harding's "Symptoms of Liberty and Blackhead Signposts: David Walker and Nat Turner," in Nat Turner: A Slave Rebellion in History and Memory, ed. Kenneth S. Greenberg (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 79–102. While Joel Schor claims that Garnet found a warm reception among "some white radicals," and William Loren Katz suggests that Garnet's Address "influenced many white militants," John Brown is the only example that they provide. Schor, Henry Highland Garnet, 60; Katz, Introduction, v. For scholarship that recognizes the significance of Garrison's willingness to provide coverage of the Appeal in the Liberator and the eventual influence that Walker's ideas, except for militancy, had on Garrison, see Hinks's To Awaken and Jacobs's "David Walker and William Lloyd Garrison."
16. For scholarship whose frame of reference for African American print culture is not limited to the concept of the single author, see Lara Langer Cohen's and Jordan Alexander Stein's collection, Early African American Print Culture, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. See also the MELUS special issue, African American Print Cultures 40, no. 3 (2015), Joycelyn Moody and Howard Rambsy II, eds. See also Lloyd Pratt, The Strangers Book: The Human of African American Literature (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). Benjamin Shearer Beck addresses the tendency to treat Walker's Appeal as having exclusively immediate effects. Beck, "David Walker's Appeal and Everyday Abolition" (Master's thesis, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2011, ProQuest, thesis number 1505429).
17. Hinks, To Awaken, xv.
18. It is unclear why Garnet chose to reprint the second edition of the Appeal, rather than the third. Most likely, it was a matter of having access to the second edition. [End Page 179]
19. The primary focus of Walker's critique is the American Colonization Society (ACS), which receives more attention later in this section.
20. See Hinks, To Awaken; Clement Eaton, "A Dangerous Pamphlet in the Old South," Journal of Southern History 2, no. 3 (1936): 323–34, doi: 10.2307/2191912; Hasan Crockett, "The Incendiary Pamphlet: David Walker's Appeal in Georgia," Journal of Negro History 86.3 (2001): 305–18, doi:10.2307/1562449.
21. In the Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison recirculated portions of the Appeal but framed the lengthy excerpts of the pamphlet with disapproval of its "spirit." Garrison, "Walker's Appeal. No. 1," Liberator, January 8, 1831. Benjamin Lundy placed more distance between himself and Walker, criticizing Walker's efforts to "rouse" and "inflame" black readers. Benjamin Lundy, "Walker's Boston Pamphlet," Genius of Universal Emancipation, April 1830.
22. See Lori Leavell, "'Not Intended Exclusively for the Slave States': Antebellum Recirculation of David Walker's Appeal," Callaloo 38, no. 3 (2015): 679–95. Though not a term used in the period, "black militancy" pinpoints the cause of white alarm.
23. Walker, Appeal, 11.
24. Following P.J. Staudnraus's 1961 monograph, several extended studies of the ACS have appeared in recent years: P.J. Staudenraus, The African Colonization Movement, 1816–1865 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961); Claude A. Clegg III, The Price of Liberty: African Americans and the Making of Liberia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004); Eric Burin, Slavery and the Peculiar Solution: A History of the American Colonization Society (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005); Beverly Tomek, Colonization and Its Discontents: Emancipation, Emigration, and Antislavery in Antebellum Pennsylvania (New York: New York University Press, 2011); Winston James, The Struggles of John Brown Russwurm: The Life and Writings of a Pan–Africanist Pioneer, 1799–1851 (New York: New York University Press, 2010).
25. For attention to the competing motives of those involved in African colonization during the antebellum period, see Beverly Tomek. While Tomek focuses specifically on colonizationists in Pennsylvania, she brings nuance to assessing the range of interests at work in colonization more broadly. Tomek, Colonization and Its Discontents.
26. Walker, Appeal, 79.
27. One of its most prominent members and the organization's president, Henry Clay, promoted colonization among state legislators, identifying the free black population as "the most vicious" group within the US: "It is the inevitable result of their moral, political and civil degradation." Henry Clay, Speech of the Honorable Henry Clay, before the American Colonization Society, in the Hall of the House of Representatives, January 20, 1827 (Washington: Columbian, 1827), 12.
28. Garnet, Address, 94.
29. Henry Highland Garnet, The Past and the Present Condition, and the Destiny, of the Colored Race (Troy, N.Y.: J. C. Kneeland, 1848; Miami: Mnemosyne Publishing, 1969), 23.
30. See John Ernest's examination of Garnet's address, which argues that it was primarily intended for northern free people of color, rather than southern slaves. Ernest, Liberation Historiography: African American Writers and the Challenge of History, 1794–1861 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 329.
31. While scholarship tends to acknowledge the development over time of Garnet's ideas about emigration, colonization, and Africa, the anti-colonizationist platform of the Address has not been fully delineated. Schor refers to Garnet's "acceptance, as early as 1849, of certain kinds of emigration under particular conditions"; Power-Greene describes the early 1840s as a period in which Garnet "argued vehemently against colonization, emigration, or any form of mass movement of free blacks" and identifies Garnet's "ideological shift towards emigration" as occurring "during the 1850s." Schor, Henry Highland Garnet, 154; Ousmane K. Power-Greene, Against Wind and Tide: The African American Struggle Against the Colonization [End Page 180] Movement (New York: New York University Press, 2014): 163. Neither historian specifically analyzes the Address, however, as anti-colonizationist.
32. Garnet, Address, 94.
33. Garnet, Address, 90.
34. Garnet, Address, 90.
35. Bell, Minutes (1843), 19.
36. Statements in scholarship about Garnet's relationship to the ACS and its affiliates are not consistent. For example, Schor claims that Garnet "cooperate[d] with the New York State Colonization Society during the 1850s until well into the Civil War" but does not provide evidence. See Schor, Henry Highland Garnet, 14. Power-Greene, on the other hand, writes that Garnet "never … supported the American Colonization Society." Power-Greene also claims that Garnet was unaware of Benjamin Coates's ongoing affiliation with the ACS but he does not provide evidence. Power-Greene, Against Wind and Tide, 163, 164. In 1881, Garnet is identified, as Schor points out, as a vice-president of the ACS in the "Minutes of the American Colonization Society," published in the African Repository and Colonial Journal in 1881. See African Repository and Colonial Journal 57, no. 3 (1881): 30. What is known is that in Garnet's published statements, he did not endorse the ACS. While Garnet's Society, via individual members, had some entanglement with the ACS, my findings suggest that Garnet did not have personal affiliation with the ACS until shortly before his death in 1882.
37. In 1843 the national convention convened on August 15, in Buffalo, New York.
38. Bell, Minutes (1843), 13.
39. Bell, Minutes (1843), 13. As Richard Newman, Patrick Rael, and Phillip Lapsansky explain, the debate at the convention over whether to publish Garnet's address "underscored the significance of pamphleteering." "Introduction: The Theme of Our Contemplation," to Pamphlets of Protest: An Anthology of Early African American Protest Literature, ed. New-man, Rael, and Lapsansky (New York: Routledge, 2001), 156.
40. Robert Fanuzzi describes the nonresistance embraced by William Lloyd Garrison as a "pacifist doctrine that enjoined its adherents to withdraw formally from the arena of electoral politics and to suspend all organized political activity." See Fanuzzi, Abolition's Public Sphere (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), 1.
41. William Cooper Nell, "National Convention of Colored Americans: 6 October 1847," in William Cooper Nell: Selected Writings, 1832–1874, ed. Dorothy Porter Wesley and Constance Porter Uzelac (Baltimore: Black Classic, 2002), 162. Neither the 1843 nor the 1847 manuscript of Garnet's address is extant. The 1848 edition and a modified version published in 1865 (as part of James McCune Smith's introduction to Garnet's A Memorial Discourse) are the two existing iterations. A Memorial Discourse; by Henry Highland Garnet, Delivered in the Hall of the House of Representatives … (Philadelphia: Joseph M. Wilson, 1865). For examination of distinctions between the 1848 and 1865 print versions, see Stanley Harrold, The Rise of Aggressive Abolitionism, Addresses to the Slaves (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2004), 33–35.
42. Garnet, preface to Garnet's Address, 89.
43. Bell, Minutes (1847), 10.
44. Nell, "National Convention," 162.
45. Bell, Minutes (1843), 13. According to James McCune Smith, John Brown financed the printing: "It is enough to add, that JOHN BROWN having read it, had it with 'Walker's Appeal' republished at his own expense." Smith, "Sketch of the Life and Labors of Rev. Henry Highland Garnet," in A Memorial Discourse; by Henry Highland Garnet, Delivered in the Hall of the House of Representatives … (Philadelphia: Joseph M. Wilson, 1865), 52. Stephen B. Oates casts some doubt on Brown's involvement. Benjamin Quarles goes farther in clarifying why Brown's financial support was unlikely, specifically pointing to the "absence of copies of such a publication and Brown's constant need of money." Oates, To Purge this Land [End Page 181] with Blood: A Biography of John Brown, 2nd ed. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1984), 61; Quarles, Allies for Freedom: Blacks and John Brown (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974), 67.
46. For attention to publication practices concerning slave narratives, see Terese A. Goddu: "Many [slave narratives] were self-published through arrangements with local printing presses." Goddu, "The Slave Narrative as Material Text," in The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative, ed. John Ernest (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 152. See also Laurence Cossu-Beaumont and Claire Parfait's "Book History and African American Studies." Transatlantica 1 (2009), 4 Oct. 2015, http://transatlantica.revues.org/4280. See also Michaël Roy, "Cheap Editions, Little Books, and Handsome Duodecimos: A Book History Approach to Antebellum Slave Narratives," MELUS 40, no. 3 (2015): 69–93.
47. Newman, Rael, and Lapsansky, "Introduction: The Theme," to Pamphlets, 1.
48. While an authorizing white-authored preface became a common feature of antebellum slave narratives, other types of black-authored texts that comply with or demonstrate awareness of the convention readily come to mind. Perhaps one of the most well-known examples is the statement of attestation that functions as an authenticating document in Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, though Joanna Brooks has found compelling evidence suggesting that Wheatley may have penned it herself. Wheatley, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London, 1773); Brooks, "Our Phillis, Ourselves," American Literature 82, no. 1 (2010): 1–28. Consider William C. Nell's The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution (Boston: Wallcut, 1855), a compendium of prominent black figures in American history, whose introduction was penned by Harriet Beecher Stowe. William Wells Brown, as Robert B. Stepto puts it, "notably" manipulates the convention by writing his own "Preface" rather than enlisting a "white guarantor" for his novel 1853 Clotel; or, The President's Daughter. Stepto, From Behind the Veil: A Study of Afro–American Narrative, 2nd ed. (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1991), 27. Harriet Wilson's novel, Our Nig, includes an "Appendix" with authenticating documents, one of which—signed "Margaretta Thorn"—aims to "add my testimony to the truth of her assertions" (138). Wilson, Our Nig; Or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Richard J. Ellis (Boston: Rand and Avery, 1859; New York: Vintage Books, 2011), 138.
49. Newman, Rael, and Lapsansky, "Introduction: The Theme," to Pamphlets, 7.
50. In 1831, Maria W. Stewart, who had become active on the abolitionist lecture circuit in Boston, identified Walker as the "most noble, fearless, and undaunted" in her pamphlet Religion and the Pure Principles of Morality. See Maria W. Stewart: America's First Black Woman Political Writer: Essays and Speeches, ed. Marilyn Richardson (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 30.
51. In her study of the materiality of early black-authored books, Joanna Brooks explains that they needed "firm connections to social movements" to improve their chances of survival. See Joanna Brooks, "The Unfortunates: What the Life Spans of Early Black Books Tell Us About Book History," in Early African American Print Culture, ed. Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Alexander Stein (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 50. Though it was not uncommon for black authors to finance their own publications, Garnet's decision to strike out on his own in the 1840s without—as far as we know—utilizing the distribution network of a supporting organization makes his case somewhat noteworthy.
52. Garnet, preface to Garnet's Address, 89. Of course, the suggestion of controversy could be intended to draw potential readers, though placing the subheading on the volume's title page would have been more effective for such a purpose.
53. Garnet, preface to Walker's Appeal, iii.
54. Garnet, preface to Garnet's Address,89.
55. Garnet, "Brief Sketch," vi; Garnet, preface to Garnet's Address, 89.
56. Garnet, "Brief Sketch," vii. [End Page 182]
57. Walker, Appeal, 12.
58. Garnet, preface to Garnet's Address, 89.
59. Garnet, preface to Walker's Appeal, iii.
60. Explicit references to Walker are few in number after 1830 and prior to 1848, but not entirely absent. See Maria W. Stewart's 1831 pamphlet, Religion. See also William Lloyd Garrison, Thoughts on African Colonization; or an Impartial Exhibition of the Doctrines, Principles and Purposes of the American Colonization Society. Together with the Resolutions, Addresses and Remonstrances of the Free People of Color (Boston: Garrison and Knapp, 1832). Stew-art praises Walker. Garrison advises readers to "profit by" Walker's words, which he quotes at length, a distinction from his earliest excerpting of Walker's words in the Liberator while distancing himself from Walker's militancy. Garrison, Thoughts, 134. Explicit references to Walker would become more frequent in later years: for example, as Hinks points out, Amos Beman praised him in 1863 and Frederick Douglass identified him in 1883 as more important to the anti–slavery movement than Garrison or Benjamin Lundy. See Hinks, To Awaken, 114–15.
61. See Trish Loughran's discussion of how eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century printed texts include claims of broad circulation that were intended to boost circulation: placing a claim in print could stand in for the reality of the claim and/or enable the claim to materialize. See Trish Loughran, The Republic in Print: Print Culture in the Age of U.S. Nation Building, 1770–1870 (New York: Columbia UP, 2007), 364.
62. Genette, Paratexts. For an examination of the relationship of paratext to race, see Beth A. McCoy's "Race and the (Para)Textual Condition," PMLA 121, no.1 (2006): 156–69.
63. See, for example, Hinks' claim that Garnet "fell far short of Walker's impressive effort to speak directly to the slaves through simple and concrete language, powerful emotional liaisons, and emphatic cadences yoked to religious yearning." Hinks, To Awaken, 234.
64. Walker, Appeal, 54.
65. Walker, Appeal, 85.
66. See Marcy J. Dinius, "'Look!! Look!!! at This!!!!'."
67. Garnet, Address, 92.
68. Garnet, Address, 92.
69. Garnet, Address, 90.
70. Walker, Appeal, 27, 38, 41, 52, 66.
71. Walker, Appeal, 30.
72. Walker, Appeal, 30
73. Garnet's question, "Are you men?" is a modified version of Walker's: "Are we men!!—I ask you, O my brethren! Are we MEN?" Garnet, Address, 96. Walker, Appeal, 27.
74. Bell, Minutes (1847), 17.
75. Of course, a constellation of factors, including European revolutions of 1848, no doubt had an impact on the growing radicalism of black leadership. See, for example, Benjamin Fagan on the role of The North Star in framing the significance of the 1848 revolutions for black abolitionists in the US. "The North Star and the Atlantic 1848," African American Review 47, no. 1 (2014): 51–67. My aim is to identify the reprinting of the Appeal as another significant contributing factor.
76. See Robert S. Levine, Dislocating Race and Nation: Episodes in Nineteenth–Century American Literary Nationalism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008).
77. See Schor, Henry Highland Garnet, 84. Douglass's Faneuil Hall address was delivered in June of 1849. In May of 1851, Douglass announced his break with another tenet of Garrison's brand of abolition: he no longer saw the Constitution as a pro-slavery document. Frederick Douglass, "Change of Opinion Announced," North Star, May 15, 1851.
78. While Frankie Hutton and Waldo E. Martin, Jr., both point to Garnet's influence on Douglass, they also speculate that personal competition with Garnet informed Douglass' shift to endorse violent resistance. Hutton conjectures that "Garnet's salvo was likely to have caused [End Page 183] Douglass to rethink his own position." Hutton, The Early Black Press in America, 1827 to 1860 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993), 12. Martin, The Mind of Frederick Douglass (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984), 57–8.
79. See Minutes and Address of the State Convention of the Colored Citizens of Ohio, Convened at Columbus, January 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th, 1849 (Oberlin, J. M. Fitch, 1849). Schor points out that there's no evidence that the copies were ever purchased. Schor, Henry Highland Garnet, 84.
80. While scholars, including Joel Schor and Earl Ofari, acknowledge the shift toward radicalism among black abolitionists as occurring in the late 1840s and the early 1850s and specifically identify Garnet's influence, little to no attention has been given to the reprinting of the Appeal as a contributing factor. Schor, Henry Highland Garnet, 84–89; Ofari, Let Your Motto Be Resistance: The Life and Thought of Henry Highland Garnet, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1972), 42–44. Frederick Douglass's meetings with John Brown, beginning in 1847, have also been cited as influencing Douglass. See Benjamin Quarles, Allies for Freedom, 21–22. Peter P. Hinks, responsible for the definitive study of David Walker and the Appeal, mentions Garnet's edition but says nothing about its significance as a reprinting, instead examining the content of Garnet's biography of Walker. Hinks, To Awaken, 113, 270.
81. Elizabeth McHenry calls attention to the significance of reprinting within African American venues, specifically, the circulation of British texts alongside original work by black and white American authors within black periodicals, namely Frederick Douglass' Paper. Douglass's editorial choices, as McHenry explains, signify in part that black literary production is on a par with that of white and European authors: reprinting thus functions to democratize authorship. McHenry, Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), 124–26.
82. Meredith L. McGill, American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834–1853 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), 41.
83. My argument treats the pamphlet as a kind of book, though at times distinguishing between the formats of books and pamphlets. I draw on the loose definition of "pamphlet" provided by Richard Newman, Patrick Rael, and Phillip Lapsansky who describe the pamphlet as "something between a broadside and a book." "Introduction: The Theme of Our Contemplation," to Pamphlets of Protest: An Anthology of Early African American Protest Literature, 1790–1860, ed. Newman, Rael, and Lapsansky (New York: Routledge, 2001), 2. Like a broadside, a pamphlet could be produced fairly quickly and inexpensively. Like a book, it allowed space for extended argument and often contains the same paratextual matter associated with books. As a material object, it straddles the line between durability and ephemerality.
84. See McGill for a rigorous examination of the implications of the Wheaton v. Peters (1834) American copyright law case, which resulted in a "circumscription of authors' rights." McGill, American Literature, 75.
85. William Yates, Rights of Colored Men to Suffrage, Citizenship and Trial by Jury: Being a Book of Facts, Arguments and Authorities, Historical Notices and Sketches of Debates—with Notes (Philadelphia: Merrihew and Gunn, 1838; Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1970), 62.
86. It is important to remember that the advantages conferred to antebellum American authors by US copyright law are not entirely clear. In her study of the materiality of slave narratives, Goddu points out that "it is unclear just what such textual property rights [copyright] meant in a decentralized literary marketplace." She continues, "in a literary marketplace that operated via reprintings, copyright could limit rather than extend circulation." Goddu, "The Slave Narrative as Material Text," 154.
87. For more on the period's debates over international copyright, see McGill. American Literature, 1–44. [End Page 184]
88. For more on Paola Brown's role in the Canadian settlement near present-day Winterbourne, see Linda Brown-Kubisch, The Queen's Bush Settlement: Black Pioneers, 1839–1865 (Toronto: Natural Heritage Books, 2004), 26–28.
89. Thomas Smallwood uses the term "rob" rather than "plagiarize": "I am led to make these remarks from the fact that I have seen a book for sale in this city purporting to be a production of Mr. Paola Brown, of Hamilton, but the fact is, it is a copy, almost verbatim, of a book known as 'Walker's Appeal', written by a coloured man of that name. And in order to shew the reader more plainly the diabolical attempt of P. Brown to rob the memory of an estimable man, of one of the boldest productions against slavery ever written and published in America, I will give the preface to a brief sketch of the life and character of DAVID WALKER." Smallwood, A Narrative of Thomas Smallwood (Toronto, 1851; Documenting the American South, University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001), ix, http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/smallwood/smallwood.html.
90. Of course, for Smallwood, the problem was not that Brown recirculated the Appeal without permission but that Brown claimed authorship. In fact, Smallwood recirculates Garnet's biography of Walker and preface to the Appeal without claiming to have secured permission from Garnet.
91. Quoted in Hinks, To Awaken, 114. During the Civil War, James Redpath launched a line of inexpensive publications, including reprintings, for distribution to Union soldiers, called the Campfire Series. Amos Beman likely had Redpath's Campfire Series in mind in 1863 when he stated the following: "There are some books and publications of special importance in the present crisis of our affairs, which should be in the hands of all, especially of all our soldiers: First that book of facts, by W. C. Nell of Boston, also that volume of fire, 'Walker's Appeal,' and 'Garnet's address to the slaves' should be scattered over the land, as thick as autumnal leaves'" (quoted in Hinks). To Awaken, 114.
92. For an extended examination of applications of the jeremiad by African American authors, see Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Black Messiahs and Uncle Toms: Social and Literary Manipulations of a Religious Myth, rev. ed. (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993).
93. Walker, Appeal, 30.
94. Walker, Appeal, 23.
95. Garnet, Address, 92–3.
96. See the article in African Repository and Colonial Journal that reports on a recent speech by Leonard Bacon: "Anti–Colonizationism in Old Times," in African Repository and Colonial Journal, 10 (Washington: James C. Dunn, 1834), 189.
97. Garnet, Address, 94–5.
98. Garnet, Address, 94.
99. Krystal Appiah alerted me to this iteration of the image.
100. For a detailed analysis of the African Civilization Society's agenda, see Richard K. MacMaster, "Henry Highland Garnet and the African Civilization Society," Journal of Presbyterian History 48, no. 2 (1970): 95–112.
101. Frederick Douglass, "African Civilization Society," Douglass Monthly, February (1859), in The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, ed. Philip Sheldon Foner, vol. 2 (New York: International Publishers, 1950), 442–47.
102. See Henry Highland Garnet, Patriot, May 22, 1851: "[Slaveholders] had united with the American Colonizationists to make the blacks as unhappy as possible in order to compel them to leave the United States." Garnet appears to have remained unwavering in his rejection of the ACS—until the 1880s—even as the African Civilization Society had links to it via Benjamin Coates and others. See note #36 above.
103. Schor, Henry Highland Garnet; Richard K. MacMaster, "Henry Highland Garnet"; Power-Greene, Against Wind and Tide. [End Page 185]
104. In 1858, the African Repository and Colonial Journal ran a favorable review of Benjamin Coates's Cultivation of Cotton in Africa, the founding document of the Society. "Cultivation of Cotton in Africa," African Repository and Colonial Journal, November, 34, no. 11 (1858), 344–47. In 1858, the journal ran an announcement about the formation of the African Civilization Society. "African Civilization Society," African Repository and Colonial Journal, June, 35, no. 6 (1859), 188.
105. The African Civilization Society had existed in an earlier form in England under the direction of Thomas Fowell Buxton. The ACS presented their own work as complimentary to that of the British African Civilization Society, which elicited a letter from Buxton to R.R. Gurley, Secretary of the ACS, drawing a line between the two organizations. The letter was printed in the London Patriot and reprinted in the Colored American, February 27, 1841. Buxton identifies the ACS as promoting mass exodus of black Americans whereas his organization was "not for the colonization, but for the civilization of Africa." In short, the ACS had a history of reaching out to the African Civilization Society and of being rebuffed.
106. Power-Greene, Against Wind and Tide, 168.
107. Frederick Douglass, "African Civilization Society," Douglass' Monthly, February 1859, in The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, ed. Foner, 442–47.
108. Interference with the African slave trade and "elevation of the condition of the colored population of our own country and of other lands" carry equal emphasis.
109. For more on Read, see Anthony F.C. Wallace, Rockdale: The Growth of an American Village in the Early Industrial Revolution, rev. ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978; originally published 1972), 450.
110. The image harkens to the book of Isaiah.
111. According to Read, "If it be in his ['the colored man's'] heart, and fortuitous circumstances favor, that he, like Israel of old, may quit the land of his captivity, and return to the land of his fathers and the land marked out by Heaven for his habitation, we congratulate him as favored above his fellows." Negro Problem, vii.
112. Read, Negro Problem, iv.
113. Read, Negro Problem, 416.
114. Read, Negro Problem, 287.
115. Ousmane Power-Greene explains that the "ACS set out to build a base of support among free blacks and in turn to convince them that white ACS members only sought their best interests." Against Wind and Tide, 2.
116. MacMaster, "Henry Highland Garnet," 111.
117. For examination of the racialized convention, see John Sekora's "Black Message/White Envelope: Genre, Authenticity, and Authority in the Antebellum Slave Narrative," Callaloo 32 (1987): 482–515. For examples of the trend of the ACS's showcasing black testimony in print, see the African Repository and Colonial Journal.
118. William Wells Brown, The Black Man, His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements, (New York: Thomas Hamilton, 1863). See Ernest's discussion of Read's book—and its recirculation of Brown's The Black Man. Chaotic Justice: Rethinking African American Literary History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), xxxv–xxxvii.
119. Read, Negro Problem, 193.
120. It is possible that Read's familiarity with Garnet's oration was limited to Brown's description of it. If so, Read unwittingly recirculated praise for a black militancy that he did not endorse. Another possibility is that in an era in which black authorship was seen as evidence of the capabilities of the race, the specifics of the black-authored argument were not important to Read. Indeed, the excerpt appears in a section titled "Can Africa Produce Men?" which, drawing heavily from Brown, includes short biographies of black statesmen and writers. References to black all-stars support Read's claim that free blacks who would recolonize Africa would be able to Christianize and civilize it. [End Page 186]
121. Marcus Wood, Blind Memory: Visual Representations of Slavery in England and America 1780–1865 (New York: Routledge, 2000), 94.
122. Wood, Blind Memory, 94.
123. Read, Negro Problem, 316.
124. Eric Gardner, Unexpected Places: Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature (Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi, 2009). [End Page 187]