Sarah Moore Grimké in Abolitionists
Sarah Moore Grimké (1792-1873) was an abolitionist who wrote and lectured as an advocate for emancipation and women's rights. She was born into a prominent slaveholding family in Charleston, South Carolina, but was horrified by the brutalities of slavery that she witnessed while growing up. Sarah strongly influenced Angelina, her younger sister by thirteen years, when she became a Quaker and moved to Philadelphia in 1821. Angelina followed eight years later. The sisters continued to work closely together all their lives; when Angelina married Theodore Dwight Weld in 1838, both Grimké sisters were excommunicated from the Quaker church, since Weld was a Presbyterian and Sarah had attended the wedding.
The Grimké sisters began their public speeches when they addressed small groups of women for the American Anti-Slavery Society, but they soon began speaking before larger audiences of men and women. Sarah wrote An Epistle to the Clergy of the Southern States and Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Woman; she was prompted to compose the latter in 1838 after the General Association of Congregational Ministers of Massachusetts issued a pastoral letter denouncing female reformers and preachers. After working with her sister and brother-in-law on Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses (1839), Sarah retired from most public advocacy and lived quietly in New Jersey and Massachusetts.