Grimké Sisters Essay

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Sarah and Angelina Grimké’s radical disillusionment concerning racial inequality originated during the earliest years of their childhood. The Grimké sisters were born into a prominent slaveholding family in Charleston, South Carolina, and were raised on a wealthy plantation during the antebellum period. Their father, Judge John Faucheraud Grimké, was a respected lawyer, politician, and member of South Carolina’s exclusive plantation society. As an esteemed and affluent representative of this firmly established social system, John Grimké characteristically owned hundreds of slaves. Thus, the Grimké sisters personally witnessed the evils of slavery as an institution on a regular basis during their formative years. Although most children of…show more content…
Their anti-slavery convictions were so deeply embedded that they eventually left South Carolina permanently, “to escape the sound of the lash and the shrieks of tortured victims.” The Grimké sisters’ intimate knowledge of and personal experience with slavery had profoundly impacted the depth of their radicalism. They had witnessed first-hand slavery’s “demoralizing influences, and its destructiveness to human happiness.” Consequently, Sarah and Angelina departed from their native state in 1821 and 1829, respectively, with the fervent belief that all African American slaves should receive complete and immediate emancipation. Furthermore, the sisters firmly retained the conviction that all humans, irrespective of class, race or gender, should be accorded basic civil liberties, and enjoy complete social, religious economic, and political equality. Angelina later defended their radical stance by simply stating that she “had seen too much of slavery to be a…show more content…
Garrison was a radical abolitionist who had organized the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and founded The Liberator, a northern anti-slavery newspaper. Both Garrison and the Grimké sisters supported the immediate emancipation and integration of African Americans, and strongly rejected the beliefs of conservative northern abolitionists who favored colonization and gradualism. In September of 1835, Angelina composed a letter to Garrison “declaring her support of his radical stance against slavery.” In the letter, Angelina revealed her private concerns regarding the pro-slavery and anti-abolitionists riots that were taking place throughout the country. She mused that “[a]lthough I expected opposition, I was not prepared for it so soon—and I greatly feared [the] abolitionists would be driven back…and thrown into confusion.” Angelina concluded her letter with an ardent plea to Garrison to stand firm in his convictions. She entreated, “[t]he ground upon which you stand is holy ground: never…surrender it. If you surrender it, the hope of the slave is extinguished.” Garrison was deeply moved by the contents of Angelina’s letter; additionally, he recognized the value and honesty of Angelina’s words and shrewdly discerned that they should be read and admired by a national audience. Consequently, Garrison published
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