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Angelina & Sarah Grimké

Angelina and Sarah Grimké (1805-1879?), sisters from a prominent slaveholding family from South Carolina, became powerful anti-slavery lecturers during the 1830s. Their talks were controversial for attracting public audiences that included men as well as women. An association of Massachusetts clergymen issued a “pastoral letter” in 1837 declaring that when a woman “assumes the place and tone of a man as a public reformer…her character becomes unnatural.” The Grimké sisters, a full decade before the Seneca Falls Declaration of 1848, argued vigorously for women’s equality with men, building their case from evidence found in Scripture. Angelina co-wrote American Slavery As It Is (1839), which documented the brutal realities of the slave trade and became one the most effective tools in the abolitionist cause. She was also a member of the Millerite movement that gave rise to the Adventist tradition although she never joined the denomination.

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