Nick Name: Nina
Birthday: February 20, 1805
Died At Age: 74
Sun Sign: Pisces
Also Known As: Angelina Emily Grimké Weld
Born in: Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Famous as: Abolitionist, Women's Rights Activist
Spouse/Ex-: Theodore Dwight Weld
father: John Faucheraud Grimké
mother: Jane Bettrimké
Died on: October 26, 1879
place of death: Hyde Park, Massachusetts, USA
U.S. State: South Carolina
One of the biggest social problems of the American society during the 18th and 19th centuries was that of slavery. Angelina Grimke was one of the few hundred abolitionists who raised their voices against this curse. Her hatred towards slavery germinated at a very young age. Her first step of changing the attitude of the society towards slaves, started at home. She preached the sayings of holy text to the uneducated and underprivileged slaves of her home. She travelled to different parts of America and even England to spread the importance of eradicating slavery. After she felt that even influential religious groups couldn't make an impact against the practice of slavery, Angelina decided to revolt against the system through literature. She is well-known even today in America’s political circles for her writings too. Angelina also addressed the concerns of women empowerment, after being deeply disturbed by the plight of her sister who was a widow. Her writings are considered to be one of the earliest expressions of feminism recorded in the modern world. Her path breaking efforts to bring a change in the American society is appreciated till date.
Childhood & Early Life
Angelina Grimke was born on February 20, 1805 to wealthy parents John Faucheraud Grimké and Mary Smith in Charleston, South Carolina. Angelina’s father was a lawyer, politician, and a judge. He was also a war veteran who served for the nation. Grimke’s mother Mary Smith belonged to an elite family from Charleston.
Angelina was the youngest of the 14 children born to her parents, yet she was far more self-righteous and self-assured compared to the rest of her siblings. Amongst the 13 others, Angelina was particularly close to Sarah Moore. When she was barely thirteen years old, Angelina rebelled out against the traditional beliefs of the ‘Episcopal Church’.
In 1819, Angelina moved to Philadelphia, along with her sister. She joined the religious group ‘Society of Friends’, in a bid to stand up against slavery and discrimination.
Angelina embraced ‘Presbyterian’, a Christian group which was a bit unorthodox in its approach, when she was just 21 years old. Gremke started preaching religious values to the workers at her family home, who were considered slaves. This move made her mother furious initially, but later Angelina’s effort was appreciated.
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The Presbyterian faith, also introduced Angelina to rev. William McDowell, who was the pastor of the church she frequently visited. Though both of them were against slavery, McDowell decided to abolish the system through prayers and religious methods, which were unacceptable to Angelina.
Angelina requested all the members of the Presbyterian Church to stop slavery, through a meeting held in 1829. However, the folks didn’t agree with her thought. A disappointed Angelina, later joined the Quaker Community, a small religious group based in her hometown, Charleston.
Angelina was not too pleased with the Quaker community’s approach towards slavery either. She resorted to writing columns of ‘anti-slavery’ content in periodicals such as ‘The Emancipator’ and ‘The Liberator’, in a bid to express her concern about this social issue.
Angelina joined the ‘Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society’ in 1835. She actively participated in dozens of meetings organized by the association, which were held to abolish the social issue.
The ‘American Anti-Slavery Committee’ held a two week conference to emphasize the importance of anti-slavery rights, in 1836. Angelina, and her sister Sarah Moore, attended the event. Soon, the duo was invited to address many gatherings, in a bid to end slavery. Sarah and Angelina also paved way for several anti-slavery groups in the New York region.
In the same year, Angelina happened to read an article written by writer William Lloyd Garrison in the periodical ‘The Liberator’. Impressed by Lloyd’s article, Angelina wrote a letter to the man, praising him for his efforts against slavery. Lloyd returned Angelina’s goodwill gesture by publishing an article about the article in the periodical. This column helped Angelina grab the attention of many like-minded abolitionists.
One of the most noted moves of Angelina against slavery was the three appearances she made before the legislative committee of Massachusetts. This made her the first woman in the history of America to appear before a legislative body.
Angelina supported former American president Abraham Lincoln during the ‘Great American Civil War’ through her words.
Angelina wrote an article named ‘An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South’ in 1836. Gremke requested the women who lived in her hometown and surrounding regions to do their bit to end slavery. This book is considered to be one of the best results of America’s socio-political concerns.
Angelina protested against public adversary Catherine Beecher by writing a series of essays against the women. This collection was titled ‘Letters to Catherine Beecher’.
Awards & Achievements
Angelina Grimke was inducted into the ‘National Hall of Fame’ in 1998.
Personal Life & Legacy
Angelina was in a relationship with a man named Edward Brittle. Though Brittle had never confessed his love for Angelina, his intention to marry her was apparently clear. Unfortunately, Brittle contracted Cholera, and eventually succumbed to the dreaded disease. Angelina was shattered by his demise, and diverted her attention towards social activities.
Angelina got married to abolitionist Theodore Weld in 1836. The couple first met each other during one of the meetings of the ‘American Anti-Slavery Committee’. She was greatly impressed by the man’s speeches, and his approach towards the anti-slavery campaign.
Angelina passed away On October 26, 1879. She was seventy four years old at the time.
Angelina and Weld were both great writers. They expressed their love for each other through many love letters before finally tying the knot.
A play named ‘If She Stood’, staged in 2013 made several references to this great abolitionist.