Angelina Grimké

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If a law commands me to sin I will break it; if it calls me to suffer, I will let it take its course unresistingly

Angelina Emily Grimké Weld (February 21, 1805 – October 26, 1879) was an American political activist, women's rights advocate, supporter of the women's suffrage movement, and besides her sister, Sarah Moore Grimké, the only known white Southern woman to be a part of the abolition movement.

Quotes[edit]

  • I have been suffering for the last two days on account of [my brother] Henry’s boy [slave] having run away, because he was threatened with a whipping … and yet … I am constantly told that the situation of slaves is very good, much better than that of their owners … No wonder poor John ran away at the threat of a flogging, when he has told me more than once that when Henry last whipped him he was in pain for a week afterwards. I don’t know how the boy must have felt, but I know that the night was one of agony for me; for it was dreadful not only to hear the blows, but the oaths and curses Henry uttered went like daggers to my heart. And this was done too, in the house of one who is regarded as a light in the church.
    ... I was directed to go to Henry and tenderly remonstrate with him ...
    I said that would be treating him worse than he would treat his horse.
    He now became excited, and replied that he considered his horse no comparison better than John, and would not treat it so … I felt so much overcome as to be compelled to seat myself or rather to fall into a chair before him, but I don’t think he observed this ...
  • The ground upon which you [abolitionists] stand is holy ground; never—never surrender it. If you surrender it, the hope of the slave is extinguished, and the chains of his servitude will be strengthened a hundred fold … But remember you must be willing to suffer the loss of all things – willing to be the scorn and reproach of professor and profane. You must obey our great master’s injunction: “Fear not them that kill the body, and after that, have nothing more that they can do.”
  • But I ask no favors for my sex. I surrender not our claim to equality. All I ask of our brethren is, that they will take their feet from off our necks, and permit us to stand upright …
The time to assert a right is the time when that right is denied.
  • I appeal to you, my friends, as mothers; Are you willing to enslave your children? You start back with horror and indignation at such a question. But why, if slavery is no wrong to those upon whom it is imposed? Why, if as has often been said, slaves are happier than their masters, free from the cares and perplexities of providing for themselves and their families? Why not place your children in the way of being supported without your having the trouble to provide for them, or they for themselves? Do you not perceive that as soon as this golden rule of action is applied to yourselves that you involuntarily shrink from the test; as soon as your actions are weighed in this balance of the sanctuary that you are found wanting? Try yourselves by another of the Divine precepts, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Can we love a man as we love ourselves if we do, and continue to do unto him, what we would not wish any one to do to us? Look too, at Christ's example, what does he say of himself, "I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." Can you for a moment imagine the meek, and lowly, and compassionate Saviour, a slaveholder? Do you not shudder at this thought as much as at that of his being a warrior? But why, if slavery is not sinful?
  • If a law commands me to sin I will break it; if it calls me to suffer, I will let it take its course unresistingly. The doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to any human power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism, and ought to have no place among Republicans and Christians.
  • My mind is composed & I cannot but feel astonished at the total change which has passed over me during the last 6 months. Then I delighted in going to meeting 4 & 5 times every week, but now my Master says “be still” & I would rather be at home, for I find that every stream from which I used to drink the refreshing waters of salvation is dry & that I have been led to the fountain itself. Once, Oh how precious were the means of grace to my soul with how much power did sermons come home to my heart, but now I sometimes wish I could close my ears to the preacher’s voice and retire into the closet of my heart & old converse with him who speaks as never man spake. And it is possible I would ask myself tonight, is is possible that today is the last time I expect to visit the Presbyterian Church, the last time I expect to teach my interesting class in Sabbath School and it is right that I should separate myself from a people whom I have loved so tenderly & who have been the helpers of my joy, is it right to give up instructing those dear children whom I have so often carried in the arms of faith & love to a throne of grace.
  • I have seen it! I have seen it! I know it has horrors that can never be described. I was brought up under its wing. I witnessed for many years its demoralizing influence and its destructiveness to human happiness. I have never seen a happy slave.

Quotes about Angelina Grimké[edit]

Sorted alphabetically by surname

  • Some of her best friends protested [Grimké speaking in mixed gatherings of men and women]. It was not "proper," nor "right," for a woman to attempt to instruct a man. But Angelia Grimke had gone far beyond the point where propriety weighted when it was a question of humanity. She held that "Whatever is morally right for a man to do is morally right for a woman to do. I recognize no rights but human rights."
  • Then first she saw that outward forms are no part of Christ’s religion, which she was to be an inward life, – the love of all beings, the wishing and willing of good to all, the law of love, the golden rule, impartial and universal, to be wrought out in loving acts.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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