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Brookline, 1837.

'The whip on WOMAN'S shrinking flesh!
Our soil yet reddening with the stains
Caught from her scourging warm and fresh.'

Can any American woman look at these scenes of shocking licentiousness and cruelty, and fold her hands in apathy, and say, 'I have nothing to do with slavery'? She cannot and be guiltless.

I cannot close this letter, without saying a few words on the benefits to be derived by men, as well as women, from the opinions I advocate relative to the equality of the sexes. Many women are now supported, in idleness, and extravagance, by the industry of their husbands, fathers, or brothers, who are compelled to toil on their existence, at the counting house, or in the printing office, or some other laborious occupation, while the wife and daughters and sisters take no part in the support of the family, and appear to think that their sole business is to spend the hard bought earnings of their male friends. I deeply regret such a state of things, because I believe that if women felt their responsibility, for the support of themselves, or their families it would add strength and dignity to their characters, and teach them more true sympathy for their husbands, than is now generally manifested,- a sympathy which would be exhibited by actions as well as words. Our brethren may reject my doctrine, because it runs counter to common opinions, and because it wounds their pride; but I believe they would be 'partakers of the benefit' resulting from the Equality of the Sexes, and would find that woman, as their equal, was unspeakably more valuable than woman as their inferior, both as a moral and intellectual being.

Thine in bonds of womanhood.


(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Sarah Grimke (1792-1873) and her sister Angelina (1805-1879) were the first women in the United States to publicly argue for the abolition of slavery. They were also strong proponents of women's rights, brought about in part, because they were women participating in the man's domain of public speaking. This paragraph is an excerpt from a long article that was published in William Lloyd Garrison's anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator. Sarah advocates equality of the sexes including the responsibility of women to financially support their families. The piece was written in Brookline, Massachusetts while Sarah and Angelina were on a lecturing tour of the northeast in 1837. The Liberator was first published on January 1, 1831 and continued until December 29, 1865. It was the most influential anti-slavery publication in the years before the Civil War.


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Excerpt "On the Condition of Women in the United States" article from The Liberator newspaper

publisher   Isaac Knapp
author   Sarah M. Grimke (1792-1873)
date   Jan 19, 1838
location   Boston, Massachusetts
width   2.5"
height   5.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L05.042

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See Also...

"The Life and Age of Woman"

"Narrative of Sojourner Truth, A Northern Slave, Emancipated From Bodily Serviture By the State of New York in 1828"

Excerpt from "Equal Rights- Condition in some parts of Europe" article from The Liberator newspaper

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