David Walker was born in or near Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of a slave father and a free black mother (thus, under the laws of slavery, he was born free). the year of his birth is uncertain, although the most convincing recent research contends that it was 1796 or 1797. By his own account in the Appeal, Walker left Wilmington as a young man and wandered around the United States, residing for an unspecified period in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1825, he turned up as a used-clothes dealer in Boston, where he would spend the rest of his abbreviated life. He died suddenly in 1830.Sean Wilentz is the Cotsen Fellow and professor of history at Princeton University. His books include Chants Democratic and, with Paul E. Johnson, The Kingdom of Matthias.