David Walker Civil Rights Analysis

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Since the beginning of American history, African Americans have had to deal with outright mistreatment and inferiority within society. During slavery, African Americans were completely stripped of their basic civil rights and liberties; they were not considered to be human. During the Civil Rights Movement, although African Americans had gained their freedom nearly a century ago, they still were not treated with dignity and respect, forced to advocate for the rights given to them as citizens of the United States. Because of the racism African Americans experienced, leaders such as David Walker and Martin Luther King organized efforts to help African Americans gain more respect and inclusion in American society. Both leaders had significant…show more content…
Both leaders must struggle to with the church’s arguments to either be neutral or justify the cruelties and inequities of the institutions of slavery and Jim Crow, making it difficult to morally persuade people of the ills of African Americans’ oppression. Walker expresses his outrage at the actions of whites against African Americans, using a moral argument to challenge the treatment of slaves, asking how can they allow this institution to continue , “Can Christian Americans deny these barbarous cruelties? Have you not, Americans, having subjected us under you, added to these miseries, ...” (3). During slavery, the church at large made an effort to stay neutral, stating it wasn’t their place to support nor condone slavery on the premises of the church being separate from State; “The Christian Doctrine of Slavery: A Theological Analysis” by Archie C. Epps III, further discusses the church’s rationale, analyzing the ambiguous position it held on slavery, showing its ultimate goal was to keep peace at the expense of justice, “If the church and State have been given two spheres in which or over which they have jurisdiction then,we may assume the church claims no jurisdiction over the system of slavery”(Epps III 248). The church’s apathy regarding slavery, demonstrates the way in which it failed to uphold biblical principles, further supporting Walker’s challenge of Americans’ devotion to Christianity. Martin Luther King says that the greatest challenge to African Americans’ freedom is the white moderate, specifically the white church, “ The contemporary church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound.It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo” (5). Both leaders struggle to deal with a church that is
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