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The Grimke Sisters: Champions Of Abolition And Women's Rights

2982 words - 12 pages

Born in a furious time period and a nation full parties that was prepared for a change in ideology, Sarah and Angelina Grimke were two women who helped spark a revolution in the outlook of the American public. Although they are not well-known in the history books of today, the Grimke sisters did an indescribable amount of work that made the bases of those who are mentioned in the history books would present. Molded by the horrors of slavery during childhood, the Grimke sisters became the first and the most advanced in position female solicitors of abolition during the 1800's, setting in motion an important transformation in the mindset among the general population that women were somehow lesser human beings than men.During the time of their upbringing, the female Grimke children were made well aware of the fact that they were to have a lesser role in society than males. As a young girl Sarah was eager to join her older brother, Thomas, in his studies of classic literature and mathematics (Todras 16). But when he started learning Latin, Sarah's parents refused to allow her continued participation. "You are a girl," her parents would say, "what do you want of Latin and Greek and philosophy? You can never use them" (Lerner 27). Even as a child, Sarah was puzzled by the injustice she found in her parents' decision and secretly continued to teach herself these subjects against their wishes (Lumpkin 19). However, Sarah's primary rebellion was temporarily lessened by the birth of her youngest sister, Angelina, in 1805 (Hewgley 112). She took over her sibling's care and education, which for a time provided an outlet for her unused energy and talents. As Angelina grew older and her hunger for knowledge increased, the bond between the two sisters grew immensely.Strengthening an already healthy and growing relationship between the sisters was the fact that Sarah was, in a large part, responsible for Angelina's upbringing (Lumpkin 32). As a teenager, Sarah was fond of Angelina, who was "the baby of the family" and even begged her parents to allow her to take care of Angelina (Todras 17). When Judge Grimke, her father, grew ill in late 1818, their mother devoted most of her time to look after her husband (Felder 41). During this period in their lives the sisters became so close that Angelina even began calling Sarah "mother" (Ceplair 38). Sarah condensed the teaching of her sister during this period and often encouraged her to think for herself. Angelina greatly admired many aspects in her older sister and when Sarah left for Philadelphia in 1821 to become a Quaker, she felt an immense emptiness in her life (Sterne 39). The powerful sisterly bond that the Grimke sisters felt during their adolescent years was a foreshadowing of how tenaciously they would stand together in the future for the abolitionist cause.Before the Grimke sisters were born, slavery had existed in the Americas for centuries and, therefore, it was a widespread practice among the nation in...

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