Sarah is the eldest of the Grimke sisters, born in Charleston South Carolina in November of 1792. Angelina, the youngest, was born in Massachusetts in February of 1805.
The Grimke family consisted of the sisters, an aristocratic, slave owning father, Judge John Faucherand and Mother, Mary Smith Grimke. Sarah had the overwhelming desire to practice law, though due to her status as a woman, she was not admitted, or allowed to attend any Universities that were available at the time. This was only the beginning to the discrimination and humiliation she was to experience in her fight against sexism.
Both Sarah and Angelina joined the Society of Friends (a.k.a. Quakers) in Philadelphia in their early twenties. Their time there strengthened their independent thinking skills. The sisters were unhappy with the Society of Friends, due to the strict regulations they lived under. Soon afterward both sisters moved to North Carolina to join the Anti-Slavery movement. In 1835 Angelina wrote a letter of support to Abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison who published it in his newspaper The Liberator. The following year, 1836, she composed a thirty page pamphlet entitled An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South. This pamphlet urged southern women to persuade their influential husbands to re-examine the morality of the slavery institution. A similar plea was made towards the Southern Church institutions months later in An Epistle to the Clergy of the Southern States. Though praised by other abolitionists in the free states, officials in South Carolina burned copies and threatened imprisonment to the authors should they return to that state. During this time the sisters released their own family slaves after they were apportioned to them as part of the family estate.
Angelina also began the sister’s speaking career in the private homes of Philadelphia women. The sisters moved to New York in 1836 where they addressed the larger audiences of Churches and public halls. With all their good efforts the sisters were brought under fire from the General Association of Congregational Ministers of Massachusetts and scalded by authority figures. These actions further inflamed the anger of the sister’s discrimination, resulting in further efforts made in the way of sexist reform.
Angelina married Theodore Dwight Weld, a famous Abolitionist in 1838. Soon afterward she became ill and retired public speaking. Her sister, Sarah joined her in her retirement. Both sisters along with Weld started and supported Liberal schools in New Jersey. Eventually the sisters moved to Massachusetts, continuing to support Abolitionism and Women’s Rights.
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