by Paul Goodman ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 1, 1998
An important addition to the history of American abolitionism. Goodman, late professor of history at the University of California, Davis, devoted much of his intellectual energies to questions of social justice. His concern is evident in this fine book, which focuses on the beginnings of the antislavery movement and on the role of women and African-Americans in the early struggle; although both were important in making the abolitionist cause widespread, neither has received much treatment in the historical literature. As have other historians, Goodman treats the role of the New England clergy in organizing resistance to the slave trade, departing from them to write of fascinating protagonists like David Walker (1785-1830), the son of a black father and white mother, who recognized that ""lack of unity had been fatal to black prospects in the past"" and who therefore concentrated on forging well-organized communities of free blacks in the North, writing an influential manifesto called ""Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World,"" which argued persuasively that forcible resistance to slavery was the only way to bring that institution to an end. Goodman looks at other community-minded ministers and politicians who integrated churches in New York City, losing many white members in the process, before addressing the question of women abolitionists, scorned even in antislavery quarters as ""a parcel of silly women acting as petticoat politicians."" Despite this unfriendly reception, figures such as the Bostonian Sarah Grimke, Goodman writes, argued that by working to free slaves, women would begin to liberate themselves; and they won many adherents to their cause. This book makes a fitting close to a distinguished historian's career.
Pub Date: July 1, 1998
Page Count: 426
Publisher: Univ. of California
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1998
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