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Excavating ExodusBiblical Typology and Racial Solidarity in African American Literature$
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J. Laurence Cohen

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781949979916

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781949979916.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

Mosaic Subjectivity in David Walker’s Appeal

Mosaic Subjectivity in David Walker’s Appeal

(p.31) Chapter One Mosaic Subjectivity in David Walker’s Appeal
Excavating Exodus

J. Laurence Cohen

Liverpool University Press

David Walker pioneered Mosaic subjectivity, that is, portraying Moses primarily as the epitome of self-sacrificing race loyalty, rather than as a uniquely empowered prophet, liberator, or law giver. In his Appeal, Walker exhorts free Blacks to imitate Moses’s selflessness in leaving the luxurious Egyptian court to suffer with his fellow Hebrews. Walker’s use of Exodus is paradoxical because he argues that American slavery is worse than Egyptian bondage, yet he claims the U.S. as African Americans’ rightful homeland. Walker inherited rhetorical models from African Methodist Episcopal Bishops Richard Allen and Absalom Jones. Walker was the first Black American writer to treat Moses predominantly as a model for ordinary people to imitate. Whereas the bible portrays Moses as a singular figure, a prophet and law giver with unique access to God, Walker focused on Moses’s decision to identify with the suffering Hebrews, rather than the powerful Egyptians.

Keywords:   Abolition, Print culture, Divine violence, Moral exemplarism, African colonization, African Methodist Episcopal Church

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