Sarah Moore Grimké

Lived:November 26, 1792—December 23, 1873 (aged 81)

For information on her sister, Angelina Grimké Weld, visit her profile at awpc.cattcenter.iastate.edu/directory/angelina-grimke-weld-2/ .

Sarah Moore Grimké was a nineteenth-century abolitionist, suffragist and orator.

Born on November 26, 1792, to a family of wealthy slaveholders in Charleston, South Carolina, Grimké learned the evils of slavery at an early age. As a child, she tried to teach some of the enslaved people how to read on their plantation until her father discovered and forbade her from continuing. After an 1819 visit to Philadelphia with her father where she met several Quaker abolitionists, Grimké moved there and became a Quaker in 1821. A few years later, her younger sister, Angelina, joined her and they both joined anti-slavery groups and began speaking out against slavery.

In the 1836, the two sisters started publishing booklets arguing for abolition and women’s rights. This incited a backlash from Southern leaders who burned their booklets and warned them never to return to South Carolina. Even in the North, many male religious leaders disapproved of the Grimké sisters’ careers as orators and publicly chastised them. After moving to New Jersey in 1839, Grimké, her sister and her brother-in-law 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.

Grimké fought for women’s rights and better treatment of African-Americans until the end of her life, serving as the vice president of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association in 1868 and leading a group of women to illegally vote in Boston. Grimké died on December 23, 1873 at the age of 81.

Information taken from:

Alexander, Kerri Lee. "Sarah Moore Grimké." National Women's History Museum. 2018. https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/sarah-moore-grimke.