On Slavery and Abolitionism

Sarah Grimke (and others)

The daughters of a wealthy and respected Charlestown judge, Sarah and Angelina Grimké grew up with a life of ease, facilitated by the convenience of slavery. Yet their close proximity to inhumane cruelty bred their revulsion towards the practice of slavery, and both sisters rejected their upbringing, moved to Philadelphia and embraced Quakerism.

Led by Angelina's gifted oration, they toured the country as the American Anti-Slavery Society's first female agents. They passionately demonstrated the ability of women to make valuable contributions to political and social change, setting a precedent that would reverberate through the 20th century.


Sarah Grimké (1792-1873) and her sister Angelina (1805-1879) were born into Southern aristocracy but, witnessing the cruelty of slavery, chose a life of action against it. In 1838, Angelina made history as the first woman to speak before an American legislative body.