Archive for the ‘American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society’ Tag

Feast of Julia Williams Garnet, Henry Highland Garnet, Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet, Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, and Theophilus Gould Steward (February 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Partial Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JULIA WILLIAMS GARNET (JULY 1, 1811-JANUARY 7, 1870)

African-American Abolitionist and Educator

first wife of

HENRY HIGHLAND GARNET (DECEMBER 23, 1815-FEBRUARY 13, 1882)

African-American Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist

second husband of

SARAH J. SMITH TOMPKINS GARNET (JULY 31, 1831-SEPTEMBER 17, 1911)

African-American Suffragette and Educator

sister of

SUSAN MARIA SMITH MCKINNEY STEWARD (MARCH 1847-MARCH 17, 1918)

African-American Physician

second wife of

THEOPHILUS GOULD STEWARD (APRIL 17, 1843-JANUARY 11, 1924)

U.S. African Methodist Episcopal Minister, U.S. Army Chaplain, and Professor

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The nation has begun its exodus from worse than Egyptian bondage; and I beseech you that say to the people, “that they go forward.”  With the assurance of God’s favor in all things done in obedience to his righteous will, and guided by day and night by the pillars of cloud and fire, let us not pause until we have reached the other and safe side of the stormy and crimson sea.  Let freemen and patriots mete out complete and equal justice to all men, and thus prove to mankind the superiority of our Democratic, Republican government.

–Henry Highland Garnet, addressing the United States House of Representatives, February 12, 1865; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 604

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This post began with one name, that of Henry Highland Garnet, which I found in A Year with American Saints (2006).  As I took notes, however, I added two wives, a sister-in-law, and her second husband to the post.  I have, after all, established emphasizing relationships and influences as a goal of this project, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Julia Williams came from a free African-American family.  She, born in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 1, 1811, moved with her family to Boston, Massachusetts, when she was a child.  At the age of 21 years, Williams began to study at Prudence Crandall‘s Female Boarding School (for African Americans), which opened in 1831.  After hostility in Canterbury, New Hampshire, forced the school to close, Williams continued her studies at Noyes Academy, Canaan, New Hampshire (extant 1835).  There she met Henry Highland Garnet.

Henry Highland Garnet, born a slave, became an abolitionist.  He, born in New Market, Maryland, on December 23, 1815, fled with his family in 1824, first to Delaware, then to Pennsylvania.  The family had to keep moving, to evade slave-catchers.  Eventually, Garnet wound up in New York City, where, from 1826 to 1833, he studied at the African Free School then at Phoenix High School for Colored Youth.  Our saint helped to found the abolitionist Garrison Literary and Benevolent Association in 1835.  He and Julia Williams were students at Noyes Academy, Canaan, New Hampshire, in 1835.  Local racists forced the school to close then destroyed the building.  Next, they founded a whites-only school.

Williams and Garnet studied at the Oneida Institute (1827-1843), Whitesboro, New York.  Garnet, who graduated in 1839, became a teacher in Troy, New York.  He also began to study theology.  Williams, having joined the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society in the 1830s, was a delegate to the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, New York City, in 1837.  Garnet suffered a severe sports-related injury in 1840; he lost one leg, amputated at the hip.  He and Williams married in 1841.  The couple had three children.  Only one child, a daughter, survived to adulthood.

Garnet, the first African-American graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, became a Presbyterian minister.  He served at Liberty Street Presbyterian Church, Troy, New York, from 1842 to 1848.  He had already become simultaneously revolutionary and conservative, by abolitionist standards.  Our saint had, in 1840, helped to found the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (AFASS), which broke away from the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS).  The AASS, with William Lloyd Garrison as a prominent member, opened leadership positions to women and made the connection between the rights of slaves and the rights of women.  The AFASS, however, focused narrowly on slavery and reserved all leadership positions for men.  Yet Garnet, an abolitionist journalist since 1842, proved too radical for William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass in one way in 1843.  That year, addressing the National Negro Convention, Buffalon, New York, Garnet called for a slave insurrection:

Brethren, arise, arise!  Strike for your lives and liberties.  Now is the day and the hour.  Let every slave throughout the land do this, and the days of slavery are numbered.  You cannot be more oppressed than you have been–you cannot suffer greater cruelties than you have already.  Rather die freemen than live to be slaves.

Garrison and Douglass persuaded Garnet to to moderate his position.

Garnet’s activism continued.  By 1849, he openly supported African-American immigration to Mexico, Liberia, or the West Indies.  This position led him to found the African Civilization Society in 1858.  He, associated with the free produce movement, which favored an economic boycott of slavery, traveled and lectured in the British Isles in 1850-1852.  The Garnets were missionaries of The Church of Scotland to Jamaica in 1852-1855; Julia led a female industrial school there.  Henry’s health required him to leave Jamaica after three years.  The couple returned to the United States.  Henry worked with Frederick Douglass to recruit African-American soldiers during the Civil War.  Garnet, pastor of Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C., from 1864 to 1866, addressed the U.S. House of Representatives on February 12, 1865, after it passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution.  He became the President of Avery College, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (extant 1849-1873), in 1868.  Garnet also served as pastor of Shiloh Presbyterian Church, New York City, and favored Cuban independence from Spain.

Julia, who worked with former slaves in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War, died on January 7, 1870.  She was 58 years old.

Henry remarried, to Sarah J. Smith Tompkins, in 1879.

Sarah J. Smith and her sister, Susan Maria Smith, made history.  Their parents were prosperous farmers, Sylvanus Smith and Ann Eliza Springsteel, of Brooklyn, New York.  Sarah debuted on July 31, 1831.  Susan followed in March 1847.  Sarah’s first husband was Samuel Tompkins, who died in 1852.  The couple had two children, who died young.

Sarah J. Smith Tompkins became an educator.  She taught at the African Free School before becoming the first female, African-American principal in New York City; she led Grammar School Number 4, starting on April 30, 1863.

Susan, a musician and a music educator in the District of Columbia, pursued a career in medicine after one of her brothers died of cholera during an outbreak in Brooklyn.  She studied at the New York Medical College for Women in 1867-1869, and graduated as the valedictorian.  She became the first African-American female physician in the State of New York and the third in the United States.  Our saint practiced medicine in Brooklyn from 1870 to 1895, cofounded the Brooklyn Women’s Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary, and practiced medicine at the Brooklyn Home for Aged Colored People.  In 1871, Susan married the Reverend William G. McKinney (d. 1894), a Methodist minister.

Sarah, owner of a seamstress shop in Brooklyn from 1883 to 1911, was also a suffragette.  She founded the Equal Suffrage League in Brooklyn in the late 1880s.  Starting in 1896, she served as the Superintendent of the National Association of Colored Women.

Henry Highland Garnet, briefly the U.S. Minister to Liberia, received his appointment in late 1881.  He, aged 58 years, died in Monrovia, on February 13, 1882.

Theophilus Gould Steward was a minister, an academic, and an activist.  He, from free African-American stock, was a child of James Steward and Rebecca Gould.  Our saint, born in Gouldtown, New Jersey, on April 17, 1843, became a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1863.  He planted churches in Georgia and South Carolina after the Civil War.  Our saint, from 1868 a pastor in Macon, Georgia, presided over the construction of a new edifice after the suspicious burning of the first one.  He, a graduate of the Episcopal Divinity School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was active in Haiti, and the eastern United States from 1872 to 1891.  Our saint, recipient of a Doctor of Divinity degree from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio, in 1881, joined the United States Army as a chaplain in 1891.  He served in the 25th U.S. Colored Cavalry until 1907.  Steward spent time in the U.S. West, in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and in the Philippines after that war.  His first wife, Elizabeth Gladden, died ini 1893.  The couple had eight children, from 1872 to 1883.

Susan Maria Smith McKinney married Theophilus Gould Steward in 1896.  They went to work at Wilberforce University in 1907.  Theophilus was a professor of French, history, and logic.  Susan was a physician.  In 1911, she and her sister, Sarah, attended the Universal Race Congress, New York City.  Susan presented a paper, “Colored American Women.”

Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet, aged 80 years, died on September 17, 1911.

Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, aged 71 years, died on March 17, 1918.

Theophilus Gould Steward, a cofounder (with Alexander Crummell) of the American Negro Academy (1897-1928), died on January 11, 1924.  He was 80 years old.

The United States of America is better than it would have been otherwise because these five saints made their contributions to society.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 17, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BLESSED JUTTA OF DISIBODENBERG, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND HER STUDENT, SAINT HILDEGARD OF BINGEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF GERARD MOULTRIE, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZYGMUNT SZCESNY FELINSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF WARSAW, TITULAR BISHOP OF TARSUS, AND FOUNDER OF RECOVERY OF THE POOR AND THE CONGREGATION OF THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS OF THE FAMILY OF MARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZYGMUNT SAJNA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1940

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness and care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

with you and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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Feast of Arthur Tappan, Lewis Tappan, Samuel Eli Cornish, and Theodore S. Wright (November 5)   4 comments

Above:  Emancipation, 1865

Image in the Public Domain

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ARTHUR TAPPAN (MAY 22, 1786-JULY 23, 1865)

U.S. Congregationalist Businessman and Abolitionist

brother of

LEWIS TAPPAN (1788-1873)

U.S. Congregationalist Businessman and Abolitionist

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SAMUEL ELI CORNISH (1795-NOVEMBER 6, 1858)

African-American Presbyterian Minister, Abolitionist, and Journalist

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THEODORE SEDGWICK WRIGHT (1797-MARCH 25, 1847)

African-American Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist

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One of my purposes in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.  That is a goal I can accomplish in more than one way.  I can, for example, write posts that link into each other.  Sometimes doing so is the option that provides the most clarity in the presentation of material.  I can also write about more than one person in one post.  This post uses both methods.

The Tappan brothers–Arthur and Lewis–were a remarkable team from a remarkable family.  They were sons of Benjamin Tappan (Sr.) and Sarah Homes, and brothers of Benjamin Tappan (Jr.) (1773-1857), a United States Senator from Ohio (1839-1845).  David Tappan (1752-1803), theologian and Hollis Chair at Harvard Divinity School, was an uncle.  Arthur (born in Northampton, Massachusetts, on May 22, 1786) and Lewis (born in Northampton in 1788) worked in the family business (a dry goods store) before blazing their own paths, mostly together.  The family was Congregationalist.  Lewis, as a young man, converted to Unitarianism, but Arthur persuaded him to return to Trinitarian faith in 1827.

Arthur and Lewis were longtime business partners.  In 1826, in New York City, they opened a silk importing business that became a victim of the Panic of 1837.  In 1827 the brothers founded The Journal of Commerce with Samuel Morse (1791-1872), the inventor of the Morse Code.  The Journal of Commerce functioned as a platform for frequently controversial social advocacy, such as appeals on behalf of the Amistad slaves in 1839-1841.  After the demise of the silk importing firm, the Tappan brothers opened the Mercantile Agency, the first commercial credit rating service, in 1840.

The Tappan brothers understood that the true value of money was what one did with it.  They used money to work for social reform and to sponsor African-American divinity students, for example.  In 1833 the brothers helped to found the American Anti-Slavery Society with William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Weld, et al.  Lewis had formerly favored emancipating the slaves then shipping all of them to overseas colonies, but had decided that the colonization movement was deficient.  Also in 1833, Arthur and Lewis helped to found Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, a school open to students regardless of race and gender.  In some ways the Tappan brothers were radical, according to the standards of their time; they favored racial mixing as a solution to racism.

Although the Tappan brothers were somewhat progressive, according to the standards of their time, regarding gender roles, they were conservative, according to the standards of their time, on the issue of women in leadership roles.  Arthur, President of the American Anti-Slavery Society from 1833 to 1840, left that organization in part over the insistence of William Lloyd Garrison, who linked the rights of African Americans to the rights of women, that women fill leadership roles.  The schism of 1840 resulted from a set of issues, including gender roles.  Other issues were institutional hostility to religion, as well as the desire of many abolitionists to focus narrowly on the abolition of slavery.  The Tappan brothers were two of the founders of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1840.

Samuel Eli Cornish and Theodore Sedgwick Wright also helped to found the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 and the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society seven years later.

Cornish was a minister and a journalist.  He, born free in Sussex County, Delaware, in 1795, studied at the Free African School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  His mentor was John Gloucester (1776-1822), the first African-American Presbyterian minister and the pastor of the First African Church, Presbyterian, Philadelphia.  Cornish, licensed to preach in 1819, assisted Gloucester and worked as a missionary to slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before he moved to New York City in 1821.  There he organized the New Demeter Presbyterian Church (later the First Colored Presbyterian Church), the first African-American Presbyterian congregation in the city and the second in the nation-state.  Cornish, ordained in 1822, led that congregation until 1828.  In 1827 he founded Freedom’s Journal, the first African-American newspaper.  Our saint used his editorial office to advocate for the abolition of slavery, as well as for the improvement of living conditions and educational opportunities for African Americans.  Cornish, editor in 1827 and 1829-1830, changed the name of the newspaper to Rights of All in 1829.  The publication ceased to exist in 1830.  Our saint returned to journalist in 1837, when he founded and began to edit Colored American (extant until 1839), which Arthur Tappan subsidized.

(Aside:  I have added John Gloucester to my list of people to consider for addition to this Ecumenical Calendar.)

Theodore Sedgwick Wright was a colleague of Cornish.  Wright, born free in New Jersey circa 1797, attended the African Free School in New York City.  He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary (Class of 1829); Arthur Tappan was one of his sponsors.  With Arthur Tappan’s help, Wright became the first African-American man to graduate from a theological seminary in the United States.  Wright followed in Cornish’s footsteps as the pastor of the First Colored Presbyterian Church, New York City, from 1833 to 1847.  Wright also worked as a conductor of the Underground Railroad, of which Cornish was a pioneer.  Both ministers were members of the New York Committee on Vigilance, associated with the Underground Railroad.  Wright, who also worked with James Pennington (1897-1870), an African-American Congregationalist then Presbyterian minister, and an abolitionist, once opposed the use of violence as an antislavery tactic.  In 1843, however, Wright called for slave insurrection.  The slaves were never going to gain by freedom by asking for it politely, after all.

Wright, who married Adeine Turpin in 1837, died in 1847.  He was about 50 years old.

Cornish married Jane Livingston in 1824.  The couple had three children.  Jane (the wife) died in 1844.  Two daughters died at the age of 22 years–Sarah in 1846 and Jane in 1855.  Perhaps William, the son, survived his father.

Cornish remained active until the end of his life.  He, a missionary in New York City, Philadelphia, and Newark, helped Lewis Tappan et al found the American Missionary Society in 1846.  Cornish also founded Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, New York City, that year.  Our saint, an opponent of both the colonization movement and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, moved to Brooklyn in 1855.  There he died, aged about 63 years, on November 6, 1858.

The Tappan brothers lived long enough to see the end of race-based slavery in the United States.  Arthur, aged 79 years, died on July 23, 1865.  Lewis, aged about 85 years, died in 1873.

Had the derogatory and socially and politically regressive term “Social Justice Warrior” existed during the lifetimes of these saints, many would have accused Arthur Tappan, Lewis Tappan, Samuel Eli Cornish, and Theodore Sedgwick Wright of being Social Justice Warriors.  Certainly many would have accused William Lloyd Garrison and members of the Weld-Grimké family of being Social Justice Warriors.  These saints were actually moral giants who got more right than they got wrong, and who left the United States and the world better than they found both.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 26, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants

Arthur Tappan,

Lewis Tappan,

Samuel Eli Cornish, and

Theodore Sedgwick Wright,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Theodore Weld, Angelina Grimke Weld, Sarah Grimke, Francis J. Grimke, and Charlotte Grimke (November 4)   4 comments

Above:  A Partial Grimké-Weld Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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THEODORE DWIGHT WELD (NOVEMBER 23, 1803-FEBRUARY 3, 1895)

U.S. Congregationalist then Quaker Abolitionist and Educator

husband of

ANGELINA EMILY GRIMKÉ WELD (FEBRUARY 20, 1805-OCTOBER 26, 1879)

U.S. Presbyterian then Quaker Abolitionist and Feminist

sister of

SARAH MOORE GRIMKÉ (NOVEMBER 26, 1792-DECEMBER 23, 1873)

U.S. Episcopalian then Quaker Abolitionist and Feminist

aunt of

FRANCIS JAMES GRIMKÉ (NOVEMBER 4, 1852-OCTOBER 11, 1937)

African-American Presbyterian Minister and Civil Rights Activist

husband of

CHARLOTTE LOUISE BRIDGES FORTEN GRIMKÉ (AUGUST 17, 1837-JULY 23, 1914)

African-American Abolitionist and Educator

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Lawless ruffians may keep the Negro away from the polls by shotguns; and by unrighteous laws and intimidation may shut him out of first-class cars, but there is no power by which all the combined forces of evil in the South can keep him from approaching the throne of grace.  Here is one thing, thank God, that this Negro-hating spirit cannot do,–it cannot prevent him from praying.

–Francis James Grimké, quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (New York:  Church Publishing, 2006), 349

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The Weld-Grimkés, a remarkable family, did much for the cause of social justice.

MEET THEODORE WELD

Theodore Dwight Weld, born in Hampton, Connecticut, on November 23, 1803, was an abolitionist and an educator.  He, raised a Congregationalist, studied at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, from 1820 to 1822.  He had to leave the school because of bad eyesight, however.  Our saint, a son of Elizabeth Clark (Weld) and the Reverend Ludovicus Weld, came from a socially conscious family.  Brother Ezra Greenleaf Weld (1801-1874), a daguerreotype photographer by profession, was also an abolitionist.  Young Theodore traveled in the United States for several years after leaving Phillips Academy; he witnessed slavery in the South.  In 1825 he moved with his family to Pompey, in upstate New York.

Weld became an abolitionist.  This transformation occurred during his time as a student at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York.  Influential figures in our saint’s life included William Wilberforce (a British politician largely responsible for the abolition of slavery in that empire) and Charles Finney (1792-1875), a prominent American evangelist and abolitionist, who, unfortunately, considered the bulk of the classics of English literature, from William Shakespeare to Sir Walter Scott, blasphemous.  After Hamilton College young Theodore left for Oneida, New York, and for the Oneida Manual Labor Institute, specifically.  In 1831 brothers Arthur Tappan (1786-1865) and Lewis Tappan (1788-1873), businessmen, abolitionists, and socially conscious philanthropists, hired our saint as an agent for the Society for Promoting Manual Labor in Literary Institutions.  In that capacity he traveled widely and spoke regarding manual labor and moral reform.

Later, as a student at Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio, Weld continued his abolitionist activism.  He led the “Lane Rebels,” a group of pupils who openly discussed the abolition of slavery and helped to liberate 1,500 slaves in that city.  In 1834, when the trustees of the seminary imposed a gag rule regarding slavery, Weld and the bulk of the student body transferred to the Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.  Our saint left Oberlin College later that year, however, and became an agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, founded the previous year.  People he converted to the cause included Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) and Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887).  Weld lectured until 1836.  That year he shifted his focus to writing.  Weld edited The Emancipator until 1840.  In 1836 he also met Angelina Emily Grimké, whom he married two years later.

MEET SARAH AND ANGELINA GRIMKÉ

Sarah Moore Grimké and Angelina Emily Grimké were two of the most remarkable women of the nineteenth century.  They, born in Charleston, South Carolina, came from a large, prominent, and wealthy family.  The Grimkés, of Huguenot ancestry, belonged to the planter class; they owned slaves.  The father, John Grimké (1752-1819), held various statewide political offices.  The mother, Mary Smith (Grimké), guided the daughters’ educations according to gender norms, meaning a narrower curriculum for young women.  Sarah, born in 1792, manifested her revolutionary tendencies starting in childhood; she, in violation of state law, taught slaves to read.  Angelina, also rebellious, refused confirmation in The Episcopal Church when, at the age of 13 years, she refused to recite the creed.  She became a Presbyterian eight years later.

Sarah left The Episcopal Church and converted to Quakerism.  In 1819 she accompanied her dying father to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to consult Dr. Philip Syng Physick (1768-1837), “the Father of American Surgery.”  She remained in the City of Brotherly Love for several months after the father died.  During that sojourn Sarah became a Quaker.  She returned to Charleston briefly before going back to Philadelphia.

Angelina was a devout Presbyterian for a few years.  She taught Sunday School at her church and offered worship services for the family’s slaves.  Our saint also opposed the Peculiar Institution of the South.  Chattel slavery was, she insisted, contrary to Biblical ethics and human rights.  Angelina’s open abolitionism led to her expulsion from her congregation in 1829.  She, already under the influence to join Sarah in Philadelphia and become a Quaker, did so.

The Grimké sisters were radical, even relative to the standards of other radicals of their time.  The sisters, suffragettes who sought gender equality in the Religious Society of Friends, where they should have found it, given the doctrine of the Inner Light, were too revolutionary for the leaders of the Orthodox Quakers in Philadelphia.  When the sisters addressed audiences of men and women, Angelina and Sarah violated deeply held social mores and gender norms.  When the sisters criticized Northern allies of Southern slaveholders and of slavery in general, Angelina and Sarah offended many.  When the sisters addressed the Massachusetts State Legislature in 1838, they linked the rights to women to the rights of African Americans.  In so doing, the sisters contributed to a controversy that divided the abolitionist movement.

Angelina and Sarah wrote against slavery, too.  Angelina wrote for The Liberator, founded and edited by fellow abolitionist and feminist William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879).  One of her major works was “An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South” (1836.  Another important work was Letters to Catharine Beecher (1838).  Catharine Esther Beecher (1800-1878), sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1812-1896), was an educator who pioneered kindergarten in the United States.  Catharine Beecher. despite her progressiveness vis-à-vis early childhood education, was conservative in other ways.  She, for example, opposed the participation of women in the abolitionist movement, for she accepted female subordination to males.  Angelina disagreed strongly.  Sarah’s works included the Epistle to the Clergy of the Southern States (1836) and Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women (1838).

WELD-GRIMKÉ FAMILY ACTIVITIES

The Grimké sisters met Theodore Weld in 1836.  Sarah and Angelina were in New York City for a training conference for antislavery agents.  Weld married Angelina and converted to Quakerism in 1838.  The couple and Sarah moved to a farm in Bellville, New Jersey, and became a team.  All three published American Slavery As It Is:  Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses (1839), a work that influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852).

Angelina and Theodore had three children:  Charles Stuart Weld, Theodore Grimké Weld, and Sarah Grimké Weld.

Theodore continued his abolitionist activities until about 1844.  He helped to found the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1840, became active with the Liberty Party, and advised the antislavery wing of the Whig Party.  He also helped Representative (and former President of the United States) John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) resist the antislavery gag rule (1836-1844) in effect in Congress.

Theodore, Angelina, and Sarah devoted much of their lives to education.  Theodore and Angelina opened to schools–one in Eagleswood, Perth Amboy, New York (1854), and the other in their new home, Hyde Park, Boston, Massachusetts (1864).  These schools were open to students regardless of race or gender.

When ill health forced Angelina into domestic life, Sarah served as her primary caregiver.

THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN BRANCH OF THE HENRY GRIMKÉ FAMILY

Henry Grimké (1801-1852), a brother of Angelina and Sarah, had two families.  After his wife, Selina Simmons (Grimké) died in 1843, Henry started a second family with slave Nancy Weston (1810-1895), who was, in all ways except the legal one, his second wife.  They had three children:  Archibald Henry Grimké (1849-1930), John Grimké (1852-1918), and Francis James Grimké (1852-1937).  Henry’s dying instruction to his son and heir, E. Montague Grimké (1832-1896), was to treat Nancy, Archibald, John, and Francis like family.  Montague did the opposite.  In 1860 he claimed them as slaves–his property.  He never provided sufficient financial support for them, but he did sell Francis.  Archibald had to hide from his half-brother during the Civil War.  After the war, the three brothers studied in schools the Freedmen’s Bureau operated.

Theodore, Angelina, and Sarah learned of the existence of the African-American cousins in the late 1860s.  The Weld-Grimkés recognized their newly found relatives and offered education to the three sons, their nephews.  Archibald and Francis accepted; they graduated from Lincoln University in 1870 then continued their educations.  John, however, remained in Charleston with his mother.

Archibald eventually became an attorney, diplomat, journalist, and intellectual.  In 1909 he and brother Francis helped to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.).  Archibald’s daughter, Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958), became an educator, a playwright, a journalist, and a figure of the Harlem Renaissance.

EXUENT

Sarah died on December 23, 1873.  She was 81 years old.

Angelina died on October 26, 1879.  She was 74 years old.

Theodore died on February 3, 1895.  He was 91 years old.

FRANCIS JAMES GRIMKÉ AND CHARLOTTE LOUISE BRIDGES FORTEN GRIMKÉ

Francis James Grimké graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1878 and became a Presbyterian minister.  That year he also married Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten.

Charlotte Forten was one of the great women of history.  She, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 17, 1837, came from a prominent African-American family involved in the abolitionist movement.  Her parents were Robert Forten and Virginia Wood (Forten).  Our saint, educated in Salem, Massachusetts, joined the female Anti-Slavery Society there.  She spoke in public and met famous abolitionists, such as William Lloyd Garrison.  Charlotte made history in 1856; she became the first African-American hired to teach white pupils in Salem’s public schools.  She returned to Philadelphia two years later.  While there, Garrison published some of her poetry in The Liberator.  Charlotte taught freedmen on St. Helena’s Island, South Carolina, as part of the Port Royal Experiment, during the Civil War.  After the war she worked for the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.  After 1873, she was a clerk, until she married Francis.  Their only child, Theodora Cornelia Grimké, lived for about five months in 1880.

Francis was the pastor of two congregations.  He spent 1886-1889 at Laura Street Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, Florida, a tenure preceded and succeeded at Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.  He, minister there for more than half a century, retired in 1928.  Charlotte worked in her husband’s churches.

Francis was also active beyond the parish level.  He worked with Alexander Crummell (1819-1898), with whom he helped to found the American Negro Academy in 1897.  Francis also opposed Booker T. Washington‘s gradualist approach to ending segregation, sought to end lynching, advocated for African Americans’ full suffrage, and worked for educational equality of access for African Americans.

Charlotte died on July 23, 1914.  She was 78 years old.

Francis brought his widowed brother, Archibald, and his niece, Angelina, into his household.  Angelina and her uncle were caregivers to Archibald, who died in 1930.

Francis died in Washington, D.C., on October 11, 1937.  He was 85 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 24, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ORDINATION OF FLORENCE LI-TIM-OI, FIRST FEMALE PRIEST IN THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANGELA MERICI, FOUNDER OF THE COMPANY OF SAINT URSULA

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF PODLASIE, 1874

THE FEAST OF SAINT SURANUS OF SORA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MARTYR

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants

Theodore Dwight Weld,

Angelina Grimké Weld,

Sarah Moore Grimké,

Francis James Grimké, and

Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten Grimké,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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