Grimke, From Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Woman

Grimke, Sarah. "Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Woman." The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present. 2nd ed. Eds. Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. 1050-1060. Print.

Sarah Grimke (1792-1873) was an abolitionist from South Carolina. These letters were published serially in a Massachusetts paper in 1837, then as a book in 1838. She and her sister traveled, spreading the message of equality; while Angelina was the charismatic speaker, Sarah was the theorist of the two (Bizzell 1045-8). She was “the first important feminist theorist” according to Bizzell, and influenced later activists including Stanton (1048).

Grimke argued that women should have the same opportunities as men (1050). Grimke points out that the Bible suggests that “traditions of men” get in the way of following God (1051).

Bizzell includes Letter III: “The Pastoral Letter”; Letter IV: “Social Intercourse of the Sexes”; and Letter XIV: “Ministry of Women” (1050-1060).