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Angelina Grimké Weld in Abolitionists

Angelina Grimké Weld (1805-1879) was an abolitionist who wrote and lectured in favor of emancipation and women's rights. Horrified by the brutalities of slavery that she witnessed while growing up, Angelina followed in the footsteps of her sister, Sarah, and moved to Philadelphia to become a Quaker. An abolitionist by 1836, she wrote An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South. Two years later, Angelina married Theodore Dwight Weld, an equally determined evangelist and abolitionist organizer. Both Grimké sisters were excommunicated from the Quaker church, since Angelina married a Presbyterian and Sarah attended the service. Due to poor health, Angelina stopped lecturing shortly after her marriage. Still, she remained committed to the cause and completed Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses along with Sarah and her husband in 1839.

In 1838, Angelina made three appearances before the Massachusetts legislative committee in the Boston State House. She was the first American woman ever to address a legislative body. Before a packed crowd, Angelina spoke on behalf of the 20,000 Massachusetts women who placed their names on anti-slavery petitions to the Legislature. In May of the same year, Angelina spoke at the Pennsylvania Hall antislavery meeting. She took the podium as a gathering crowd surrounded the building, screamed obscenities, and pelted the edifice and those leaving it with rocks and any other implements. Undaunted, she delivered her speech to an audience of some 3000 people, calling the attackers "deluded beings." At the end of the day, whites and blacks walked out of the hall arm in arm, partly as a display of solidarity but also to protect their black comrades. The next day, the Hall was burned down by the mob.

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