The Grimké Sisters Through The Civil War - The Beginning | Sisterhood: SC Suffragists - Episode 2


The Grimké sisters ran afoul of the Quakers as they embraced abolition and engaged in anti-slavery activities without permission. Angelina Grimké wrote a letter to abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, encouraging him to never surrender the cause for anti-slavery. Garrison appreciated Angelina’s letter so much, he had it published in his newspaper, The Liberator. The printing of The Liberator newspaper, with its messages of abolition and anti-slavery, was viewed as radical, and terrified many slave owners in the south. The letter spurned outrage in the Quaker community; Sarah Grimké asked her sister Angelina to withdraw the letter, but Angelina refused. In 1836, Angelina wrote an appeal to the Christian Women of the South, urging Southern women to end slavery by petitioning state legislatures, and their churches.

Back in South Carolina, Angelina Grimké’s name was reviled, so much so that Charleston’s mayor told her mother, Mary Grimké, that Angelina would be arrested and imprisoned if Angelina attempted to visit. In the fall of 1836, the Grimké sisters went to New York, to be trained as anti-slavery lecturers. At first, the Grimkés' speaking events were small, but gradually moved up to larger, more public venues. The Grimké sisters continued to defy gender norms by fighting for anti-slavery and women’s rights, despite growing opposition. As more of the Grimkés’ letters became published in newspapers and books, their popularity in the abolition and women’s rights movements skyrocketed.