Angelina Grimké Appeal to the Christian Women of the South

Publication Year: 1836

Grimké, Angelina Emily. Appeal to the Christian Women of the South (s.l.: American Anti-slavery Society, 1836).
PHS Call number: PAM HT 871 .G75 1836

Source thumbnail image: Wood engraving portrait of Angeline Grimké (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
Source note

Angelina Emily Grimke (1805-1879) was born to a slaveholding family in South Carolina but became an influential leader in the Abolition Movement. Angelina had a dynamic personality and became a charismatic and effective speaker on the subjects of abolition and women’s rights. According to historian Gerda Lerner, while Sarah Grimké generally wrote and spoke about theology and morality, Angelina focused on political and organizational aspects of the anti-slavery movement. Angelina and Sarah’s work and lives highlight the tension that many contemporary women felt between the moral obligation to work toward abolition, and the societal expectation of women to remain in the domestic sphere. In 1838, Angelina married fellow abolitionist Theodore Weld and thereafter retreated to a more private life, though she continued to write and advocate for progressive causes until the end of her life.

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Reading questions

1.    Who wrote this document? Who was their intended audience?

2.    What are some major problems and inconsistencies with pro-slavery arguments that Grimké points out on page 2?

3.    What similarities do you see between Angelina Grimké’s arguments in this document and Sarah Grimké’s arguments in An Epistle to the Clergy of the Southern States? How much do you think the sisters’ ideas were influenced by each other?

4.    For what purpose does Grimké list the six ways that people became servants under Hebrew law, and the rules that protected Hebrew servants (page 5-8)?

5.    How does Grimké invoke the golden rule (treat others as you wish to be treated) to support her argument for immediate emancipation (pages 13 and 14)?

6.    What are Grimké’s seven propositions, and what are the four things that her fellow southern Christian women can do to help end slavery (pages 16-18)?

7.    For what purpose does Grimké describe the actions of heroic women in the Bible and in history who defied the laws of their land or people in power (pages 21-23)?

8.    Why does Grimké claim that “prejudice against color, is the most powerful enemy we have to fight with at the north (page 30)”?

9.    What evidence does Grimké provide in favor of immediate, rather than gradual, emancipation (page 35)?

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Source type
History Topics
Abolition and Anti-slavery
Women's Rights
Time Period
Slavery, Sectionalism, and Social Reform (1815-1861)