Angelina Weld Grimke
Angelina Weld Grimke was born in 1880 in Boston, the only child of Archibald Grimke and Sarah Stanley. Angelina had a mixed racial background; her father was the son of a white man and a black slave, and her mother was from a prominent white family. Her parents named her after her great aunt Angelina GrimkЁ¦ Weld, a famous white abolitionist and women’s rights advocate.
Angelina received a physical education degree at the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics in 1902. She worked as a gym teacher until 1907, when she became an English teacher, and she continued to teach until her retirement in 1926. During her teaching career, she wrote poetry, fiction, reviews, and biographical sketches. She became best known for her play entitled “Rachel.” The story centers around an African-American woman (Rachel) who rejects marriage and motherhood. Rachel believes that by refusing to reproduce, she declines to provide the white community with black children who can be tormented with racist atrocities. “Rachel” was the only piece of Angelina’s work to be published as a book; only some of her stories and poems were published, primarily in journals, newspapers, and anthologies.
Bibliography: See C. H. Birney, The Grimke Sisters (1885, repr. 1969); G. H. Barnes and D. L. Dumond, ed., Letters of Theodore Dwight Weld, Angelina Grimke Weld, and Sarah Grimke, 1822-1844 (2 vol., 1934); G. Lerner, The Grimke Sisters from South Carolina (1967, repr. 1971); K. D. Lumpkin, The Emancipation of Angelina Grimke (1974); M. Perry, Lift Up Thy Voice: The Grimke Family’s Journey from Slaveholders to Civil Rights Leaders (2001).