Angelina Emily Grimké
b.20 Feb 1805 Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
d.26 Oct 1879 Hyde Park, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
Facts and Events
Angelina Emily Grimké Weld (February 20, 1805 – October 26, 1879) was an American political activist, abolitionist, women's rights advocate, and supporter of the women's suffrage movement. While she was raised a southerner, she spent her entire adult life living in the North. The years of her greatest fame were between 1836, when a letter she sent to William Lloyd Garrison was published in his anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator, and May 1838, when she gave a courageous and brilliant speech to abolitionists gathered in Philadelphia, with a hostile crowd throwing stones and shouting just outside the hall. The essays and speeches she produced in that two-year period were incisive arguments to end slavery and advance women's rights.
Drawing her views from natural rights theory (famously set forth in the Declaration of Independence), the Constitution, and from Christian beliefs in the Bible, as well has her own experience of slavery and racism in the South, she argued for the injustice of denying freedom to any man or woman, and was particularly eloquent on the problem of racial prejudice. When challenged for speaking in public to mixed audiences of men and women in 1837, she, joined by her sister Sarah, fiercely defended women's right to make speeches and more generally be fully political beings.
Grimké married Theodore Weld, a prominent abolitionist himself, in May 1838. They lived in New Jersey, with her sister Sarah Grimke, and raised three children, and supported themselves by running two schools, the later located in the Raritan Bay Union utopian community. After the Civil War ended, the Grimke-Weld household moved to Hyde Park, Massachusetts, where they spent their last years. Angelina and Sarah were active in the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association in the 1870s.