An appeal in favor of that class of Americans called by Lydia Maria Child

By Lydia Maria Child

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The myths of black intellectual inferiority that Child refuted so incisively a century and a half ago reemerge in pseudoscientific garb with depressing regularity, hailed by an avid public in each incarnation, as the best-seller status achieved by The Bell Curve in 1994 testifies. The enduring relevance of Child's Appeal lies not merely in the tenacious social ills the book exposes, but in the inspiring model it provides of how those ills can be curedthrough an interracial solidarity movement committed to translating the ideals of freedom, democracy, justice, and equality into reality for all human beings.

Wright of the University of Massachusetts Press, who resurrected and carried through the idea of reprinting the Appeal after Sidney Kaplan's death, has been equally supportive. I am especially grateful for his careful reading of the introduction. I am grateful, too, to Reynolds Smith and Duke University Press for permission to adapt the introduction virtually in toto from Chapter 8 of The First Woman of the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child. Patricia G. Holland, coeditor of Child's Collected Correspondence and Selected Letters, collated the 1833 and 1836 editions of the Appeal, advised the Press on how to produce a text combining the important features of both versions, and undertook the editorial preparation and proofreading.

CHILD " in bold capitals and featured prominently in the editorial column of the Genius of Universal Emancipation, an antislavery newspaper issued from Baltimore by the Quaker Benjamin Lundy. Its author was William Lloyd Garrison, who at age twenty-four had recently joined Lundy as coeditor of the Genius, having previously edited several ephemeral newspapers and worked briefly as a journeyman printer at the offices of David Lee Child's Massachusetts Journal. 1 The commendation, prefacing an extract from Lydia Maria Child's "Hints to People of Moderate Fortune," was in fact Garrison's second tribute in three weeks to the wife of his quondam employer.

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