On Slavery and Abolitionism (Penguin Classics)
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A collection of historic writings from the slave-owner-turned-abolitionist sisters portrayed in Sue Monk Kidd’s novel The Invention of Wings
Sarah and Angelina Grimké’s portrayal in Sue Monk Kidd’s latest novel, The Invention of Wings, has brought much-deserved new attention to these inspiring Americans. The first female agents for the American Anti-Slavery Society, the sisters originally rose to prominence after Angelina wrote a rousing letter of support to renowned abolitionist William Garrison in the wake of Philadelphia’s pro-slavery riots in 1935. Born into Southern aristocracy, the Grimkés grew up in a slave-holding family. Hetty, a young house servant, whom Sarah secretly taught to read, deeply influenced Sarah Grimké’s life, sparking her commitment to anti-slavery activism. As adults, the sisters embraced Quakerism and dedicated their lives to the abolitionist and women’s rights movements. Their appeals and epistles were some of the most eloquent and emotional arguments against slavery made by any abolitionists. Their words, greeted with trepidation and threats in their own time, speak to us now as enduring examples of triumph and hope.
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him, and after many struggles of feeling, determined to go to Boston on purpose to see “this man,” and judge of his character for himself. He did so, and when he entered the office of the Liberator, soon fell into conversation with a person he did not know, and became very much interested in him. After some time, a third person came in and called off the attention of the stranger, whose benevolent countenance and benignant manners he had so much admired. He soon heard him addressed as Mr.
children of your love, when you are supplicating Him who hath made of one blood all nations, to sanctify these precious souls and prepare them for an inheritance with Jesus—then pray, if you can that God will grant you power to degrade to the level of brutes your colored brethren. Try it, when your little ones are twining their arms around your necks, and lisping the first fond accents of affection in your ears; when the petition arises from the fulness of a parent’s heart for a blessing on your
indignant and jealous eye; that at present, the inhabitants of that State consider the preservation of their lives, and all they hold dear on earth, as depending on the continuance of slavery, and are even riveting more firmly the fetters of oppression.” “They believe that great difficulty would attend the presentation of an address to the public, and that, if presented, it would not be read.” The address was, however, issued, and in it we find this complaint—“Many aspersions have been cast upon
satisfactorily at home. On a candid examination and comparison of the passages which I have endeavored to explain, viz., 1 Cor. chaps. 11 and 14, and 1 Tim. 2, 8—12. I think we must be compelled to adopt one of two conclusions; either that the apostle grossly contradicts himself on a subject of great practical importance, and that the fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel was a shameful infringement of decency and order; or that the directions given to women, not to speak, or to teach in the
God,” having received the glorious welcome of “well done good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joy of your Lord.” But you may say we are women, how can our hearts endure persecution? And why not? Have not women stood up in all the dignity and strength of moral courage to be the leaders of the people, and to bear a faithful testimony for the truth whenever the providence of God has called them to do so? Are there no women in that noble army of martyrs who are now singing the song of Moses