Sarah Grimke

Early advocate for abolitionism and women’s suffrage and equality

Sarah Grimke, along with sister Angelina, broke new barriers as women who publicly attacked slavery and supported women’s suffrage and equality, all based on First Principles.

Born on November 26, 1792, Sarah Grimke was the self-educated daughter of a prominent Charleston, South Carolina slave-holding family.

Nevertheless, moved by the First Principles, the Grimkes developed abolitionist views.  When a private letter by her sister Angelina Grimke written to abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison was published by Garrison (without Angelina’s consent), the Grimke sisters were thrust into the public arena as abolitionists.  For women – especially Southern women – to speak out against slavery was completely unprecedented and against traditional social conventions.

Nevertheless, the Grimkes resolved to accept the limelight and became the first women to publicly speak against slavery, and they traveled on a speaking tour to New England and New York in the 1830s. When criticized by clergymen for publicly speaking out against that peculiar institution, the Grimkes realized that like African Americans, women were not afforded equality.

Sarah Grimke responded by speaking and writing in favor of women’s rights and equality.  Several of her letters and a series of articles advocating for emancipation and women’s rights were published.  These works, based on the First Principles of unalienable rights, the Social Compact, and equality, helped lay the philosophical foundation for the spread of equality in America. 

Sarah Grimke died on December 23, 1873. 

For more about Sarah and Angelina Grimke and their importance to our liberties today, buy a copy of America’s Survival Guide.

Picture: Wood engraving, artist unknown; from the Library of Congress


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