Sarah Moore Grimke (1792-1873) and her sister Angeline Emily Grimke (1805-1879) were abolitionists and advocates of women's rights. Born into a wealthy and aristocratic family from Charleston, the sisters were so against the slavery so evident all around them that they left their home and went to live in Philadelphia. In 1835, Angeline wrote a letter to William Lloyd Garrison encouraging his abolitionist work. In September, the letter was published in "The Liberator." She then wrote "An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South." This pamphlet encouraged Southern women to speak and act against slavery, which Angeline insisted was contrary to the rights given by God to Adam, and opposed to the Declaration of Independence. Abolitionists began to call attention to the pamphlet and its author, who knew slavery personally. In South Carolina, copies were publicly burned by the postmasters, and Angeline was officially threatened with imprisonment if she returned to South Carolina. In 1835, the sisters persuaded their mother to give them their portion of the slaves, which they would inherit as part of the family estate, in order to set them free. Later, the sisters addressed small groups of women about the evils of slavery, and went on to give lectures nationally. However, the opposition to women on a lecture circuit was so great that the sisters felt compelled to defend women's rights as well as abolition.
Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library.