Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Sarah & Angelina Grimke
In August of 1837, Angelina Grimke (above left) wrote a letter to William Lloyd Garrison's anti-slavery paper, The Liberator. In it, she wrote, "The discussion of the wrongs of slavery has opened the way for the discussion of other rights, and the ultimate result will most certainly be...the letting of the oppressed of every...description go free." Garrison published the letter, vaulting Angelina and her sister Sarah (above right) into the limelight of the abolitionist speaking circuit. The Quaker community to which the sisters belonged immediately demanded that they back up and quieten down or else be disconnected from their spiritual roots. Instead of recanting their views, however, the Grimke sisters got louder.
Starting out in "parlor meetings," which only women attended, men soon began sneaking into the gatherings and eventually the Grimkes were two of the most popular speakers and writers on the topic of oppression in the United States, despite the abuse and ridicule that went with that territory. Sarah wrote: "Men and women were created equal...Whatever is right for a man to do, is right for woman...I seek no favors for my sex. I surrender not our claim to equality. All I ask of our brethren is that they will take their feet from off our necks and permit us to stand upright on that ground which God destined us to occupy."