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Archive for May, 2016

Again, a conversation with the doctor. We always come back to the same point: “The church may not mix in politics,” he says. And I tell him that when you are a Christian and profess that God is almighty, there is not single area of life from which you can eliminate God.          (Diary of Diet Eman, December 11, 1939)

 

These brave words from Diet Eman were not just empty talk. Because of her efforts toEman rescue Jews during the time of the Nazi occupation in Holland, Diet would suffer hunger, loneliness, danger, and imprisonment in order to follow her faith. Like all of us there were times when Diet wondered if God had forgotten her, but her doubts were short lived. She always came back to the knowledge that nothing could harm her unless God allowed it. This assurance of God’s love and faithfulness carried her through the horrible events of of the Nazi occupation in Holland in World War II.

emanfamilyBorn in 1920, Diet grew up in the Dutch city of The Hague. She was the third child of four in a godly Christian family. When she was seventeen she met Hein Sietsma, her future fiancé. Diet was ambivalent about Hein at first but soon grew to love him.

In 1938 the Dutch were worried about war. They could see what power Hitler had. Hitler had taken Austria, Poland, and would later take France very quickly. Diet recorded her fear in her diary that war would come and everyone would be in great danger. She knew that Hein would have to fight. Diet often wrote prayers in her diary and concluded the October 31, 1939 entry with, “O Father, console them and please spare our country from that terrible disaster, not because we are any better but only out of grace. And if it has to be different, then teach me to pray: ‘Your will be done.” O please protect him whom my soul loves!”

The Dutch people’s worst fears were realized when on May 10, 1940 the Germans invaded Holland. Holland fell in only five days, capitulating on May 15. Queen Wilhemina and the government had escaped to England for safety taking the Dutch treasury with them. This was important because Hitler had planned on using the money to finance his war.

Diet and Hein had no way of knowing how long the war would last but decided to get busy diet-hein-1right away and help the resistance. After they witnessed the cruelty of the Nazi’s to the Jews they knew that they had to help Jews go into hiding. Everyone is familiar with the story of Corrie ten Boom (whom Diet would later meet) but the ten Booms were only one of hundreds of families who hid Jews. Many thousands of Jewish lives were saved by Christians who acted on their convictions of faith.

The resistance work was very intricate and dangerous. Diet and Hein helped to find housing for the Jews and then provide support for them with fake identification cards, and stolen ration cards. Many times while Diet was bicycling to the home of some farmers who were hiding Jews she had to go through check points. If the Germans had searched her and found the stolen cards, she would have been arrested on the spot. She and anyone who was implicated could have been shot.

Eventually both Hein and Diet were caught and imprisoned. Diet was sent to the prison at Scheveningen and then to Vught concentration camp. At the train station on the way to Vught Diet witnessed the reunion of Corrie and Betsy ten Boom. The sisters had a tearful reunion since they had been apart for months and their father had recently died at Scheveningen prison.

Diet was going by her third false name when she was caught and imprisoned. She prayed to God that she could keep her secret not only for herself but for all those who would be implicated if the Germans found out who she really was. She prayed to God to help her get released. The idea came to her to play dumb. Though she could speak German, she pretended to speak only Dutch and acted like a naïve fool whenever questioned. When her trial came up the ploy worked. Though one of the German judges was not satisfied with her story he could not disprove it. She was released August 19, 1944.

You might think that Diet would breathe a big sigh of relief and try to go back to a “normal” life. The Canadian troops were making their way through Holland freeing one town after another. Perhaps Diet could just relax now. But not Diet. She went right back to work in the resistance using one of her fake names – Willie.

The Germans were angry that the Dutch had resisted so long and blockaded any food from getting to the people. The German soldiers stole any remaining food from the farms and so began the Hunger Winter of 1944 -45. Still the brave Dutch resisted. And Diet continued to help the Jews until Dutch liberation on May 5, 1945.

Diet had tried to find out what happened to Hein. She received several letters from him, the last one dated December 10, 1944. Diet continued to try and write to him and finally one day she learned through a letter from Hein’s father that Hein had died at Dachau on January 20, 1945.

After liberation people who had come into contact with Hein or were with him in prison came forward to console Diet as they told of Hein’s great Christian character. Many were comforted by this man who maintained his faith until his death. Diet found some consolation for her grief when she heard these testimonies that her beloved Hein had been used of God even under persecution.

Diet took a job that involved travel. She wanted to get away from the evil of the war. She married and had two children. In 1969 Diet moved to Grand Rapids Michigan where she became an export manager for an export firm.

In 1978 on a news show, Diet was reunited with Corrie ten Boom. This is a very thrilling story. You can then follow a link with that story on YouTube and watch the video of “Diet’s Story of Faith and Courage”. I encourage you to watch and be blessed.

Diet retired in 1986 and did volunteer work as a translator for Christian Doctors in the Luke Society, the Red Cross, and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee in Central and South America.

Diet was asked to put her story in a book. It was published in 1994 and is entitled “Thingsthings we couldn't say We Couldn’t Say” and you can easily get it on Amazon. During an interview about the book she was asked, “Would you like to skip that part of your life?” Diet responded that she would not. She could only think of all of the blessings that God had given her – new friends, strength to overcome threats, danger, and prison. She praised God for His protection of her parents who lived to die at the ripe old ages of 91 and 93.

In 1998 Diet received the Righteous Among the Nations medal form Israel’s Yad Vashem in recognition of her aid to Jewish people during the war.

Last year, on June 2, 2015 Diet “stole the show” when Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima went to Grand Rapids for a visit. The royal couple viewed a ballet based on Diet’s book, “Things We Couldn’t Say”, at Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. King Willem-Alexander said that Diet was one of their “national heroes with the highest decoration of anybody in the Dutch Resistance against the Nazis.”

I sent an inquiry to Calvin Seminary to Barbara Blackmore to find out if Diet was still alive. She forwarded my email to Dr. James Schaap. Dr. Schaap is the co-author of the book, “Things We Couldn’t Say”. What a privilege to hear back from him. Yes, Diet is still “alive and well, although painfully hard of hearing and certainly getting up there in age–94 or so, I think. It’s not easy to communicate anymore, except if you’re there with her in her apartment,” says Dr. Schaap. He also recommended The Reckoning, a documentary of Diet and other resistance workers’ lives.

Diet reminds us all that God loves us and is faithful and is in control of our lives. Diet remained totally dependent on Him through all of her life. She could say with David, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, Whom shall I fear? … For he will hide me in His shelter in the day of trouble” (Psalm 27:1, 5).

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (Psalm 103:2)

 

 

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I am here this day upon the Account of my Conscience, and not for any Evil, or wrong done to any Man, but for obeying Christ’s Doctrine and Commands … am I here Arraigned this day. Now you profess your selves to be Christians, and you own the Scriptures to be true… So I now Appeal to the witness of God in all your consciences, to judge of me according to that.            Margaret Fell, March 1664

 

margaret fellMargaret Askew Fell Fox was a woman of undaunted courage. She lived through one of the most tumultuous times in English history. Through all of the upheavals in government and religious policies she kept a steady faith in God and His Word.  She always put God first even if it meant going to prison. She strived for liberty of conscience.

Margaret Askew Fell Fox (1614-1702) lived through many changes in government. Since the time of Henry the Eighth (reigned 1509 to 1547) the church in England had been headed by the monarch. Henry broke with the pope and declared himself head of the Anglican church. To this day the monarch is still considered the head of the church.

Margaret grew up during the time of James I and Charles I. Both kings considered themselves the head of the Anglican church and neither tolerated dissenters.

When Charles I went too far by not allowing Parliament to meet, the Parliamentarians declared him a traitor and went to war against him. The Parliamentarians, led by Oliver Cromwell defeated the monarchists. The king, Charles I was beheaded in 1649.

In those days, church and state were not as separated as today. When King Charles and the royalists were in power the Anglican church had the ascent. When Cromwell and the Parliamentarians came to power and tried to form a Republican government, the Presbyterians had more power. Everything would switch back again to Anglicanism when the monarchy was restored in 1660 and Charles II came to power. These changes resulted in more or less toleration for other religions, mostly less.

Often minority religions were declared illegal and there was much persecution. It was during Charles II’s reign that the famous John Bunyan (Pilgrim’s Progress) was imprisoned for 11 years (1661-1672). Margaret and thousands of Quakers would be imprisoned. Margaret was tried and jailed twice for the sake of her conscience. We find this hard to believe in our day of a multitude of religions. But in the seventeenth century there was not much toleration among the various faiths. The ones who had the power did not like competition.

Margaret Askew Fell Fox was born in 1614 to wealthy parents. They were considered part of the landed gentry. Margaret was a bright child and her father saw to it that she and her sister were educated. Because of her social position she was able to marry a prominent lawyer, Thomas Fell. They were a close, affectionate couple and had eight children together, seven daughters and one son.

Thomas Fell climbed higher in social circles, becoming a Member of Parliament and swarthmoor hallserving as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. During his absences for business purposes, Margaret managed their estate – Swarthmore Hall. Swarthmore Hall was located in a remote area in northern England and the lonely Margaret invited rich and poor alike to partake of her hospitality. Margaret especially enjoyed visitors who were seekers of God and loved the Bible as much as she did. One of the strangers that she entertained was George Fox.

George Fox took the opportunity to stay with Margaret for a few days. He wanted to meet Judge Fell but would have to wait until later since the Judge was in London. Margaret listened to George Fox attentively and was persuaded that the Society of Friends, or Quakers, was true to the Scriptures. She would remain one of the most ardent supporters of Quakerism until her death.

Returning from the business trip to London, as Judge Thomas Fell was heading to Swarthmore Hall, he was stopped by his parish rector who warned him that his wife had been bewitched by a traveling preacher. At first Judge Fell was angry but changed his mind after Margaret and their seven daughters told him of their conversion experience. Judge Fell had confidence in his wife and could appreciate how much her life had changed. Margaret had become exuberant about her faith. Thomas Fell was pleased for her.

The judge did not want to leave the Anglican church, but he gladly gave Margaret permission to hold Quaker meetings in their home. Swarthmore would be the center for Quaker meetings in northern England until 1691 when a new meeting house was built nearby. Today Swarthmore Hall is used for retreats or other events.

Judge Fell died in 1658 and eleven years later, 1669, Margaret married George Fox. She was fifty-five years old and George was forty-five. They suited each other very well and were very happy but did not spend much time together. George was always traveling. And of course, both of them sent time in prison for their faith.

Besides holding meetings at Swarthmore, Margaret carried on a vast amount of correspondence with family, friends, prisoners, vicars, magistrates, judges, Cromwell, Charles II, William III, and William Penn. Margaret delivered many of the letters in person. In 1660, shortly after Charles II had been restored to the throne and promised more religious toleration, Margaret traveled with her oldest daughter to London to appeal for the release of Quaker prisoners, including George Fox.

Margaret spent four months in London meeting with Charles II sometimes as often as three times a week. Finally, George Fox and some other prisoners were released.

The reprieve did not last long. Soon laws were passed that forbade Quaker meetings. Over four thousand Quakers were imprisoned.

In 1663, Margaret was arrested for holding meetings at Swarthmore. She was brought to trial while four of her daughters watched in the courtroom. A magistrate held up a Bible and asked her to swear an oath that she would stop holding the meetings. Quakers do not take oaths because they take Christ’s command not to take oaths very seriously. (See Matthew 5:37.) Margaret responded, “If you ask me never so often, I answer you that the reason why I cannot take it is because Christ hath commanded me not to swear at all; I owe my allegiance and obedience to him…. I own allegiance to the King, as he is the King of England, but Christ Jesus is King of my conscience.”

The judge was frustrated that he could not win over Margaret Fell. He sentenced her to life imprisonment and complete forfeiture of her property. Margaret was terrified in the face of life in prison and for the lives of her now parentless children. But her courage remained steadfast. “Although I am out of the King’s Protection, yet I am not out of the protection of the Almighty God.”

Women speakingMargaret remained in prison for four years. She used this time to write many letters. She also wrote five books, including the one that is most widely read today, “Womens Speaking Justified, Proved, and Allowed of by the Scriptures.” This is a plea for the equality of women. It was published in 1666.

In October 1669, one year after her release from prison she married George Fox. She continued to hold meetings and write. She did not get to spend much time with her husband because of the amount of time that he traveled but she was willing to sacrifice for God and for the chance of living a life of service for Christ. George traveled to America, the Continent, and to all parts of England taking the news of the Gospel of light to thousands.

Unfortunately, Margaret’s only son, George Fell, was not happy with her marriage. He soon was scheming to get his mother’s estate. He accused his own mother of breaking the Conventicle Act of 1664, which forbade meetings of more than five people of any religious group outside of Anglicanism. Margaret was tried and found guilty and spent a year in prison. Margaret was imprisoned in April, 1670. Her son George Fell died in October 1670.

The Quakers continued to suffer continuous persecution. George Fox was imprisoned again. He also suffered severe health problems. George Fox died in January, 1691. Margaret faithfully carried on the work until her death in 1702. In all of her years she put God first. Not even in the face of persecution, imprisonment, or confiscation of property would she deny her faith. No one – king, judge, jury, her son, or anyone else could make her compromise her beliefs. From the moment she accepted the Quaker tenets until her last breath she remained faithful. Her motto for her life could easily have been the Scripture verse written in one of her last letters in 1700.

Now, I have set before you Life (Deut. 30:19), and Death, and Desires you to Chuse Life, and God and his Truth,  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, had I received the education I desired, had I been bred to the profession of the law, I might have been a useful member of society, and instead of myself and my property being taken care of, I might have been a protector of the helpless, a pleader for the poor and unfortunate.    Sarah Moore Grimké

Sarah_GrimkeIn last week’s post we talked about Angelina Grimké Weld. The Grimké sisters were famous abolitionists in their day. Both sisters also joined efforts in women’s suffrage. They have largely been forgotten but their work has endured. Angelina was the better speaker; but Sarah was just as passionate about justice for the downtrodden. She left writings that have come to the attention of historians today because Sarah was so far ahead of her time in her thought. Today women easily get the education that Sarah could only dream about. She was very courageous to speak out for the truth.

Sarah Moore Grimké was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on November 26, 1792, the sixth child of John and Mary Grimké. Her “baby” sister Angelina was not born until 1805, making Sarah thirteen years older than this child that she would love and dote on for the rest of her life. Sarah would never marry but would see herself as a second mother to Angelina’s children.

Growing up on a Southern plantation exposed Sarah to the many horrors of slavery. This bothered her tremendously. Sarah had a brilliant mind and she longed for a good education, but women in the South were only taught frivolous things. They were just expected to marry and help their husbands run a plantation. This included letting the slaves do all of the work; women were basically just dolls on a shelf.

Sarah wanted a more responsible, fulfilling life. She wanted to study law like her brother did. Because of the restrictions placed on women’s education she knew that she was not going to be allowed to so she moved to Pennsylvania.

Sarah joined the Quakers’ Society of Friends. Their views on slavery and women’s rights were similar to her own. She remained with the Quakers’ until they expelled her when Angelina married Theodore Weld because he was not a Quaker. (See post on May 4, 2016 – Angelina Grimké Weld.)

Angelina’s letter to William Lloyd Garrison was the start of the sisters’ involvement in the abolitionist movement. Sarah was shy and Angelina was outspoken but the two began to attend abolitionist meetings together. Sarah and Angelina would become the first women to testify in front of a state legislature on the issue of slavery.

The sisters launched a speaking tour in New England after speaking at an Anti-Slavery Convention in New York in 1837. They originally intended to speak only to women but soon their audiences included men. Sarah and Angelina became the first abolitionists to speak to mixed audiences. They boldly debated with men and became the first to do away with gender restrictions in the anti-slavery movement.

After Angelina’s marriage to Theodore Weld the sisters retired from public speaking. The Weld’s and Sarah became teachers and worked in several schools that they established. In 1862 they all moved to Boston to continue their teaching careers. As the sisters grew older and began to have health problems they could not be as active in slavery or women’s issues. However, their example inspired many other women who went on to work for justice for slaves and women.

In 1868, Angelina read about a man named Grimké who was speaking on slavery. Thinking that Grimké was not a very common name Angelina contacted him. Sure enough, they discovered that their brother Henry had fathered three sons by his female slave, Nancy Weston.  Those children were Archibald, John, and Francis James Grimké. When Angelina and Sarah found out about these three half-nephews, they established close relationships, and true to their principles of equality for blacks, they supported Archibald and Francis through college and graduate school.

Archibald studied law at Harvard, and Francis went to Princeton Theological Seminary.  Both men went on to national leadership among the Black communities. As pastor of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C., Francis Grimké and his wife Charlotte Forten Grimké were friends and colleagues of Anna Julia Cooper. Archibald was a vice-president of the NAACP and president of the American Negro Academy. Sarah and Angelina’s help had further consequences for blacks in America. Archibald Grimké fathered a daughter named Angelina Weld Grimké. This Angelina (often confused with her great aunt Angelina Grimké Weld) went on the get an education in Boston. She taught school and wrote many published essays.

Sarah Grimké died in 1873 without ever having gotten the college education that she longed for. Her legacy remains through her prominent black half-nephews and their children and through her writings.

Today woman have freedoms that we take for granted – education, jobs, the vote, and a public voice. Sarah could only dream about and write about those things.

Here are words of wisdom from Sarah Grimké. Keep in mind that these were written in the 1830’s.

From “Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, and the Condition of Woman” (1837):

  1. “On the Original Equality of Women”

“Had Adam tenderly reproved his wife, and endeavored to lead her to repentance insteadwhatsoever-it-is-morally-right-for-a-man-to-do-it-is-morally-right-for-a-woman-to-do-quote-1
of sharing in her guilt, I should be much more ready to accord to man that superiority which he claims; but as the facts stand disclosed by the sacred historian, it appears to me
that to say the least, there was as much weakness exhibited by Adam as by Eve. They both fell from innocence, and consequently from happiness, but not from equality…. The consequence of the fall was an immediate struggle for dominion, and Jehovah foretold which would gain the ascendancy; but as he created them in his image, as that image manifestly was not lost by the fall, because it is urged in Genesis 9:6, as an argument why the life of man should not be taken by his fellow man, there is no reason to suppose that sin produced any distinction between them as moral, intellectual and responsible beings.” (Letter #1)

  1. “On the Condition of Women in the United States”

“During the early part of my life, my lot was cast among the butterflies of the fashionable sarah letters to parkerworld; and of this class of women, I am constrained to say, both from experience and observation, that their education is miserably deficient; that they are taught to regard marriage as the one thing needful, the only avenue to distinction; hence to attract the notice and win the attentions of men, by their external charms, is the chief business of fashionable girls. They seldom think that men will be allured by intellectual acquirements, because they find, that where any mental superiority exists, a woman is generally shunned and regarded as stepping out of the ‘appropriate sphere,’ which, in her view, is to dress, to dance, to set out to the best possible advantage her person, to read the novels which inundate the press, and which do more to destroy her character as a rational creature, than anything else. Fashionable women regard themselves, and are regarded by men, as pretty toys or as mere instruments of pleasure; and the vacuity of mind, the heartlessness, the frivolity which is the necessary result of the false and debasing estimate of women, can only be fully understood by those who have mingled in the folly and wickedness of fashionable life; and who have been called from such pursuits by the voice of the Lord Jesus, inviting their weary and heavy laden souls to come unto Him and learn of Him, that they may find something worthy of their immortal spirit, and their intellectual powers; that they may learn the high and holy purposes of their creation, and consecrate themselves unto the service of God; and not, as is now the case, to the pleasure of man.” (Letter #8)

Amen and amen!! We women today have much to be thankful for to women like Sarah Moore Grimké. I pray that we could all have her courage, faithfulness, and forthrightness.

 

 

 

 

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O that I might live religion – how striking the exhortation of the Apostle – present your bodies a living sacrifice, Lord enable me so to live that every day I may sacrifice my own will to thine.            Angelina Grimke, December 25, 1828

Angelina and SarahThe Grimke sisters, Angeline and Sarah, have been pretty much forgotten in our day but in the nineteenth century they were well known in abolitionist circles. They made history in speeches against slavery as well as in publishing tracts calling for an end to the evil institution. They recognized that slavery and discrimination were two separate issues and fought against both.

While there were many famous male abolitionists, the sisters drew large audiences due to their compassionate speeches. Angelina and Sarah were unique because they had been raised in South Carolina on a slave holding plantation and their outspokenness against slavery was based on their first hand experiences witnessing the cruelty of slavery. Audiences came to jeer the women speakers but stayed to listen in rapt silence as the sisters recounted the horrors of slavery and called for an end to it.

Angelina Grimke was born in 1805. She was the youngest of fourteen children born to John Grimke and Mary Smith Grimke. Her older sister Sarah was thirteen when Angelina was born. Sarah doted on her baby sister Angelina and the two remained close until the end of their lives.

Angelina’s family was the type of wealthy southern family that is pictured in movies and books. Slaves were seen as “not quite human” with no rights. They were badly mistreated. One of Angelina’s brothers beat a slave boy so harshly that he could hardly walk. Angelina, even as a young girl, had a deep faith in God and the Bible. She could not reconcile the cruelty to other human beings, made in the image of God just as she was, with her religion. She tried to remonstrate with her mean brother; he told her to mind her own business.

In her personal life Angelina tried to live more as she thought a Christian should live. SheangelinaGrimkeWeld began to dress plainly and stopped going to frivolous parties. Her family who were of the privileged class barely tolerated her. Angelina prayed for them and even tried to convince them of the error of their ways. They were quite happy in their position in life and did not appreciate Angelina’s attempts to enlighten them. She desperately wanted to leave home but stayed to help her mother after the death of her father.

Angelina’s religious life went through several changes. She was uncomfortable in the cold established church that her mother went to. They did not preach against slavery. One day she heard a Presbyterian preacher speak what seemed to her the very words of God. She joined that church and since she was a young woman who never did anything by halves she began to teach Sunday School and to work in the church immediately.

When she thought that the time was right Angelina moved to Philadelphia because she could no longer support the institution of slavery. She waited until she felt like she had her mother’s blessing. Though they still disagreed on the issue of slavery Angelina and her mother would remain on loving terms.

Sarah had moved to Philadelphia some years before Angelina. When Angelina was exposed to the Friends’ Church (Quakers) through Sarah, she thought she had found a people of God who lived more closely to the Bible. As usual Angelina threw herself into meetings and church work and became well known for her spirituality. She became attached to the son of Friends’ ministers, but he died of an illness before they could get married. Angelina was heartbroken but believed that God had some purpose for her.

When William Lloyd Garrison began to publish appeals for the ending of slavery Angelina felt compelled to write him a personal letter to encourage him. “The ground upon which you stand is holy ground,” she told him, “never-never surrender it . . . if you surrender it, the hope of the slave is extinguished.” We must continue to agitate for the end of slavery even if abolitionists are persecuted and attacked because, as she put it, “This is a cause worth dying for.”

Garrison published her passionate letter in his paper “Liberator”. This was the start of Angelina’s career as an abolitionist speaker. It was also the beginning of the end of her relationship with the orthodox Quakers. The church leader came to her and asked her to renounce what she had written. Angelina was surprised at his attitude and respected him as her elder and she did some soul searching.
That night I hardly slept at all & the next day I was sunk as low as I ever had been involved in great darkness & desiring to feel utterly condemned if I had done wrong.  She threw herself as a helpless sinner at the foot of the Cross & plead for sight & for strength to undo, or bear just what was required. Angelina had come to the place where she realized what God had called her to do. She had promised God if He would only prepare me to be & make me instrumental in the great work of Emancipation I would be willing to bear any suffering. … tho’ condemned by human judges I was acquitted by him whom I believe qualified me to will it, and I felt willing to bear all, if it was only made instrumental of good. I felt great unworthiness of being used in such a work but remembered that God hath chosen the weak things of this world to confound the wise and so was comforted.  (From her diary, September, 1835.)

Angelina prayed about the remonstrance from the Quakers in Philadelphia but knew that her call from God was stronger. And so the Grimke sisters began to speak out against slavery. The strong Quaker society in Philadelphia opposed the sisters so much that they decided to move to New York city where they become agents for the American Anti-Slavery Society.

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At first Angelina began to hold abolition meetings in New York city for women. Soon however, Angelina and Sarah found themselves speaking to mixed groups of men and women. This was shocking behavior in the nineteenth century and the sisters were ridiculed and castigated. The sisters courageously continued because they knew that freeing the enslaved and ending discrimination were too important to quit.

The sisters began to be in demand as speakers. They traveled so much that Angelina’s health was in danger several times. Their lives were also often in danger due to riots and mob violence. Northerners were just as bigoted against black people as Southerners and did not want to change things.

In 1838 Angelina made history as the first woman to speak before a legislative body in the United States. “I stand before you,” she told the members of the Massachusetts legislature as well as a crowd of enemies and supporters in the galleries, “on behalf of the 20,000 women of Massachusetts whose names are enrolled on petitions [which] relate to the great and solemn subject of slavery.”  Angelina pleaded for the end of not only slavery but of racial prejudice that she saw in the North.

Around this time Angelina met abolitionist Theodore Weld. They married on May 14, 1838. Angelina gave one more lecture and then terminated her speaking career. She would take her domestic duties seriously. She and Theodore bought a farm and Angelina had three children. Theodore continued to speak until his voice gave him trouble. In the years to follow the Weld’s and Sarah Grimke would teach in the schools that were established by Theodore. Of course these schools would be open to both boys and girls and black and white children. All three continued to attend meetings and write articles when they could for anti-slavery publications.

angellina quote negro

Angelina lived until 1879. Though she wanted slavery to end peacefully she accepted the fact of war in the 1860’s. For the rest of her life she continued to work for the end to racial discrimination which did not end with the war. It still hasn’t.

After suffering from the effects of strokes for several years Angelina died on October 26, 1879. Theodore died in 1895. Many women today can thank Angelina and Sarah for their courage in pioneering justice and equal rights for both blacks and women.

 

 

 

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