Angelina Grimke Weld (1805-1879)
Angelina Grimke Weld, abolitionist, and pioneer lecturer and author for woman’s rights, was the sister of Sarah Moore Grimke. Leaving Charleston, she became a Philadelphia abolitionist, joined the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, and wrote an abolitionist pamphlet An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South (1836), which caused a stir. Taking up woman’s rights as well, Angelina wrote a series of letters on the subject in the abolitionist Liberator. Sarah and Angelina’s pioneering lectures and writing on abolition and woman’s rights inspired Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, and others to take up both causes.
From a prominent South Carolina family, she was one of 14 children of John Grimke. He fathered both white and African American children, which made his daughters sensitive to the injustices of slavery. Angelina left Charleston, joined her sister in Philadelphia and followed her into the Quaker faith. Angelina held abolition meetings for women in New York city and, accompanied by her sister, lectured to “mixed” (men and women) audiences, shocking behavior in its day. Their lectures created a sensation that landed the sisters at the center of the woman’s rights debate, provoking a rebuke from ministers against their “unwomanly behavior.” In 1838, Angelina married abolitionist Theodore Weld “out of meeting” and both sisters were expelled from the Quaker faith. Two days later, Angelina spoke passionately to a Philadelphia antislavery convention while a mob, who later burned the building, raged outside. The Welds retired from the antislavery circuit and settled first in New Jersey, then Massachusetts. Sarah made her home with them for the remainder of her life.
- PHOTO: Angelina Grimke Weld, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ61-1609