Angeline Grimke & Theodore Dwight Weld

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Angelina Grimké & Theodore Dwight Weld

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Dates: N/A
Quote: [It was] the wedding of the most mobbed-man and the most notorious woman in America … a public testimonial to their faith in the equality of men and women of all races before God.
Quote credit: Dr. Gerda Lerner, historian and biographer, 2004
Image credit: Library of Congress

Inspired by Faith

Synopsis copy: Wife and husband Angelina Grimké and Theodore Dwight Weld were influential abolitionists and women’s suffragists. Their advocacy was anchored in their belief that the Bible affirmed human equality before God.

Image credit: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Angelia Grimké Weld

Synopsis copy: Angelina Grimké was a compelling speaker, writer, and activist who fought for equality for people of color and women. Her advocacy was inspired by her faith and experience of growing up on a southern plantation.

Quote: Is there no Esther among you who will plead for the poor devoted slave? … Yes! if there were but one Esther at the South, she might save her country from ruin.

Quote Credit: Angelina Grimké Weld, 1836

Image credit: Library of Congress

Image Gallery/Angelina Grimké (7)

A Life of Faith


Body copy: Angelina Grimké was born in 1805 to wealthy plantation owners in Charleston, SC. Appalled by the horrors of slavery, from a young age she made appeals to fellow Christians to renounce slavery.

Image caption: Grimké was an eyewitness to slavery.

Image credit: Sarin Images / GRANGER


Body copy: As young women, Grimké and her sister Sarah moved to Philadelphia and became Quakers. There, the “rebellious and religious” pair joined the anti-slavery fight. They lived and worked together most of their lives.

Image caption: Angelina’s sister, Sarah Grimké

Image credit: Library of Congress


Body copy: A powerful speaker, Angelina related personal stories about slavery. She defied social norms by addressing mixed-gender audiences. The resulting backlash prompted her involvement in women’s suffrage.

Image caption: Grimké was a captivating voice of the abolition movement.

Image credit: Fotosearch / Getty Images


Body copy: In 1835, Grimké joined the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, an affiliate of the American Anti-Slavery Society and “cradle of the women’s movement.” The PFASS gave voice to abolitionist women.

Image caption: Seal of the PFASS, based on Josiah Wedgewood’s male equivalent

Image credit: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library


Body copy: Grimké wrote Appeal to the Christian Women of the South in 1836. It denounced slavery, citing Bible references such as, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” It was publicly burned in the South.

Image caption: Grimké’s most famous pamphlet called for the end of slavery with biblical moral argument.

Image credit: Library of Congress


Body copy: In 1838, two years after meeting, Grimké and Weld married in Philadelphia. The ceremony was an interracial affair of public notoriety, including former slaves and nationally prominent abolitionists.

Image caption: Handwritten Grimké/Weld wedding invitation

Image credit: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Hall

Bubble copy: The Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society built Pennsylvania Hall to serve as a “Temple of Free Discussion” about liberties.


Date: May 14, 1838

Image credit: The Library Company of Philadelphia

Image caption: In the city founded on ideals of love and liberty, many were violently opposed to Grimké and Weld’s radical ideas.

Bubble copy: Pennsylvania Hall is dedicated “wherein liberty and equality of civil rights can be freely discussed, and the evils of slavery fearlessly portrayed.” — John Q. Adams


Date: May 17, 1838
Image credit: The Library Company of Philadelphia

Image caption: Pennsylvania Hall burning and damaged. Within four days the brand new hall had been reduced to ashes.

Bubble copy: Tension over slavery exploded. Rioters protested Grimké as she spoke, undeterred, to a large interracial crowd. The mob set the temple of liberty ablaze.

Theodore Dwight Weld

Synopsis copy: Theodore Dwight Weld was an abolitionist, cofounder of the American Anti-Slavary Society, and advisor to John Quincy Adams. He was a charismatic leader who wrote, spoke, and organized for the cause of racial equality.

Quote (optional): The spirit of slavery never seeks shelter in the Bible. … Like other unclean spirits, it “hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest its deeds should be reproved.”

Quote credit (optional) : Theodore Dwight Weld, 1838

Image credit: Library of Congress

Image Gallery/Theodore Weld (5)

Faith in Action

Body copy: Influenced by the Second Great Awakening, Weld helped found, and in 1834 enrolled in, Lane Theological Seminary. Lyman Beecher led the Ohio-based Presbyterian seminary.

Image caption: The Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio was established to train ministers for the West.

Image credit: Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County


Body copy: Weld organized slavery debates that ignited national publicity. Seminary efforts to stifle debate resulted in the Lane Seminary Rebellion, a crippling protest withdrawal of a majority of its students.

Image caption: Weld and other students formed an Anti-Slavery Society at Lane Seminary.

Image credit: Library of Congress


Body copy: Weld’s prolific correspondence with abolitionist leaders as well as agents known as “the Seventy” track his significant influence and direction of the movement’s outreach and expansion.

Image caption: Weld letter to abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison, April, 1863

Image credit: Boston Public Library


Body copy: Weld, a leader of the American Anti-Slavery Society, spoke at conferences. The Society sought to convince all that “slaveholding is a heinous crime in the sight of God.” Weld’s views were widely published.

Image caption: The American Anti-Slavery Almanac for 1838, Vol I, Nr 3. By The American Anti-Slavery Society, 1838

Image credit: American Anti-Slavery Society via Internet Archive


Body copy: Weld and the Grimkés collaborated on the best-selling American Slavery As It Is (1839), exposing the horrors of slavery through true narratives. It significantly influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Image caption: The first published publicly persuasive anti-slavery narrative

Image credit: Boston Public Library via Internet Archive

Legacy of Liberty

Question/alignment statement: Do you think that faith inspires profound, perhaps even radical life-changing commitments to serve others?

Image credit: Nicole Mabry/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Scripture: God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us.”… So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female.

Scripture credit: Genesis 1:26–27

Image credit: Library of Congress

Related changemakers: The Beecher Family, Arthur and Lewis Tappan, Sojourner Truth

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