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Grimke Sisters Work Together To Abolish Slavery And Give Women Equality

2437 words - 10 pages

Sarah Grimke and Angelina Grimke, more commonly known as the Grimke Sisters, were among the first women to become active public speakers in the abolitionist movement in the United States in the 1800s. Having lived in a time when women were inferior, and discouraged from getting involved in political affairs, it was not difficult for them to become noticed by speaking out to the public, and writing on their beliefs that supported the movement to abolish slavery. In turn, this also began a new movement for women's rights to establish the right to effectively voice their opinions to the public. The two sisters shared the same views on these issues, and lived and worked together for much of their lives (Whipps).
The Grimke sisters were born into a wealthy, well established southern family in Charleston, South Carolina. Their father, John Grimke, was a plantation owner and well known judge who had previously been a lieutenant colonel in the Revolutionary War, as well as part of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Sarah and Angelina were two of fourteen children in the Grimke family. Sarah was born in 1792, making her the sixth child. She loved to learn and was well educated in the aspects of reading, writing, and simple mathematics. Although her education was full, and at a high capacity for a woman, she yearned for more. Sarah secretly borrowed her brother's history books and taught herself, hoping to one day go to college alongside her brothers. Having lived on a plantation her entire life, Sarah became well aware of the brutal treatment of slaves. At a young age, she witnessed many beatings and torture of the slaves. In a minor attempt to help, she secretly began to teach her maid to read so that she could read and learn the bible on her own. When her parents found out, she was severely scolded. In one of her later works, Sarah wrote: "I took an almost malicious satisfaction in teaching my little waiting-maid at night, when she was supposed to be occupied in combing and brushing my locks. The light was put out, the key hole screened, and a flat on our stomachs before the fire, with the spelling-book under our eyes, we defied the law of South Carolina."(Blundell). Angelina Grimke was born in 1805 as the fourteenth and last child. Sarah Grimke was made the godmother of her youngest sister, creating a bond that would keep them together for many years to follow (National Park Service).
In 1819, Sarah and her father traveled to Philadelphia together to seek medical treatment due to her father's illness. While there, they stayed in a Quaker boarding house. The Quakers, also known as The Society of Friends, who resided in this house and helped Sarah tend to her dying father (National Park Service). Mr. Grimke died while in Pennsylvania, leaving Sarah to live alone with the Quakers. She grew fond of these people, the way that they lived, and their views on religion. On her ship back to Charleston, she befriended a Quaker named Israel Morris, who...

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