Angelina Grimké Weld

Lived:February 20, 1805—October 26, 1879 (aged 74)

Angelina Grimké Weld was nineteenth-century abolitionist, suffragist and orator.

Born on February 20, 1805, to a family of wealthy slaveholders in Charleston, South Carolina, Weld witnessed the evils of slavery from an early age. Both she and her sister, Sarah Moore Grimké, were deliberately educated less than their brothers, although the boys shared what they had learned with their sisters.

Weld joined her sister in Philadelphia in 1829 and converted to Quakerism, both joining the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. In 1835, Grimké was catapulted to fame after a letter she wrote to prominent abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison was printed in his newspaper without her consent. After that, she and her sister began to publish booklets calling for abolition and women’s rights, which earned them a fierce backlash from Southern leaders. They toured the country as speakers for the American Anti-Slavery Society and, in 1838, Weld became the first woman to address the Massachusetts State Legislature when she brought a petition signed by 20,000 women calling for the abolition of slavery. That same year, after her speech at the Philadelphia anti-slavery convention, angry mobs burned down the building in which she’d spoken.

After her marriage to Thomas Weld, Angelina Grimké Weld retired from speaking and had three children. After moving to New Jersey in 1839, Weld, her husband and her sister started working in education and operated two boarding schools until 1862. Shortly after, the Grimké sisters took in their mixed-race nephews, Archibald and Francis, who were the sons of their brother, Henry, and his slave, Nancy Weston.

Although Weld never returned to speaking and touring due to her failing health, she remained a staunch supporter of abolition, writing in support of the cause into her old age. Weld died on October 26, 1879 at the age of 74.


Michals, Debra. "Angelina Grimke Weld." National Women's History Museum. 2015.