The Grimké Sisters
“I never saw a true woman who was not an abolitionist.” Mary Chesnut
Decades before the Civil War forced the issue of slavery onto the nation’s conscience, Sarah Grimké and Angelina Grimké Weld were active abolitionist public speakers and women’s rights advocates. They connected appeals for the abolition of slavery with defenses of a woman’s right to political action, understanding that they could not be effective against slavery when they did not have a public voice. The sisters helped organize the New York Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women and toured and gave talks to packed audiences in Northern cities. Their work led to the creation of more female anti-slavery associations and thousands of signatures on anti-slavery petitions. In their writings, Sarah and Angelina argued that slavery was in opposition to Biblical teaching. They used Genesis to support the claim that all people are created in God’s image and therefore could not be used as a means for others’ ends. They also argued that treating other humans as “chattel property” contradicted the golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Grimké Sisters’ raised awareness of the issue of slavery and paved the way for anti-slavery sentiment that eventually led to abolition.
Jewish Women's Club - LAPL Photo Collection