Notable Figures

Angelina Grimké  (1805-1879)

Angelina Grimke- Grimke was born in South Carolina to a pro-slavery family.  She and her sister, Sarah, got into the Quaker faith, famously known for its pacifist and anti-slavery ideals, when a minister visited their town of Charleston.  She eventually moved up north to the state of Pennsylvania where she would begin her fight as an abolitionist.  Alongside people such as William Lloyd Garrison, she traveled the country speaking on stages speaking out against the evils of slavery(1).  Grimke used religion as a justification for abolition, not as justification for slavery as many southern Christian women did.  She explains in her piece, “Appeal to the Christian Women of the South,” that slavery in the Bible that was used to justify American slavery was not the same, and its presence in the pages does not mean it is right.  The bible, as well as the ideals of the United States, clear says that slavery is wrong and this is what she preached (2)  Grimke described the movement as "a cause worth dying for" (3).  While she was strong in beliefs, Grimke was often met with backlash.  As a woman who chose to not only publicly speak, but spoke of abolition, many people were not happy with her.  She, however, kept her moral obligation to fight for the emapciation of slaves. 

Lucretia Mott

Lucretia Mott-Mott was not only an abolitionist, but a Quaker by religion.  As a Quaker, she believed not only in the equality of men and women, but of all people, thus making her an staunch abolitionist.  She grew up in various Northeastern states, New Hampsire, Massachusetts, and New York(4).  Mott met her abolitionist husband, James Mott, while teaching at Nine Partners school.  Mott became a Quaker minister, and thus became used to speaking to groups of people, but many of her fellow Quakers saw her as radical in her feminist beliefs(5).  She was friends with William Lloyd Garrison as early as 1830, even helping him with his speeches early on.  Garrison is quoted as saying that Mott was a "bold and fearless thinker" (6).  Mott, though not formally invited to the first conevention of the American Anti-Slavery Society, was present at the event and contributed to both the discussion and the Declaration of Sentiments(7).  This group influenced Mott to help found the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.  Mott continued to be a huge influence in world of women's abolitionism.  Her death in 1880 was honored by African Americans in multiple U.S. cities(8).  Her influence on the abolitionist movement is monumental, and she is seen as one of the most influential women of the movement. 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton-Stanton, who is most famous for her contribution to the women’s suffrage movement, got her start in the abolitionist movement.  She attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention as part of her honeymoon with her abolitionist husband in 1840(9).  Stanton had a strong relationship with Lucretia Mott, whom she first met in London, and William Lloyd Garrison, who she describes herself to be a “frequent visitor” of in her autobiography (10).  Stanton, who would later become the founder of the first American female suffrage society, was not supported by her husband in this endeavor for he did not approve of women having a vote(11).  Stanton continued to work along side Mott in her fight for abolition and women's sufferage/rights(12).  Stanton went on to be the face, alongside Susan B. Anthony, in the women's sufferage movement.  Her beginnings as an abolition greatly influenced her in her fight for women's rights.  She went from frustration over not being able to be a delegate for a anti-slavery convention to becoming a women's sufferage legend. 

Margaretta Forten-Forten was the daughter of James Forten, a man famous for his work and his founding of the American Anti-slavery society. Forten, along with her sisters, helped to develop the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.  This organization allowed women, regardless of race, to join together and have their voices heard.  Forten, who was an African American woman, played a huge part in the founding of this exclusively female organization. She, along with other abolitionists like Angelina Grimke and Lucretia Mott, was one of little over a dozen women who were first in this society and helped to develop it.  Forten was one of the eighteen African American women who ere a part of the organization in its first two years (12). 

William Lloyd Garrison in 1835

William Lloyd Garrison-While William Lloyd Garrison is clearly not a woman, he was a big part of women’s involvement in the abolitionist movement.  Unlike many abolitionists, he supported the idea of women’s rights and valued having their voices heard.  Garrison was active in the women's movement in order to support and encourage them, not dismiss them.  Garrison was even known to intervene in female societies that he felt were not practicing what they preached.  In 1833, he talked the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society into allowing African American women to join the organization after several members refused thier admission(13).   Garrison was the founder of The Liberator, the famous abolitionist newspaper that featured both men and women on its pages.  This newspaper gave abolitionist women a voice before they were even invited to attend anti-slavery conventions or be a part of the American Anti-Slavery Society (14).  He also was the founder of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, as well as the influence for the American Anti-Slavery Society (15).  His approach to abolition was considered radical by many. Not only was he extremely vocal of his support of women and African Americans, he also believed that immediate emancipation was the answer.  Garrison did not see slavery as an issue that could be compromised (16).  For this reason, he is often seen as the face of abolition in the United States.

Work Cited

[1]Grimké, Angelina Emily, and Charles Wilbanks. 2003. Walking by faith: the diary of Angelina Grimké, 1828-1835. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

[1]Grimke, Angelina. (1805-1879). Appeal to the Christian women of the south. [Pamphlet]. At: Place: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. GLC08642. Available through: Adam Matthew, Marlborough, American History, 1493-1945.

[3]Grimké, Angelina Emily, and Charles Wilbanks. 2003. Walking by faith: the diary of Angelina Grimké, 1828-1835. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

[4]Faulkner, Carol. 2011. Lucretia Mott's heresy: abolition and women's rights in nineteenth-century America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.


[6]Ibid. 62.

[7]Ibid. 64.

[8]Ibid. 213.

[9]"Women On 20s." W20 Campagin. 2015. 

[10]Stanton, Elizabeth Cady (1815-1902). Eighty years and more (1815-1897). Reminiscences of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. New York, New York. Available through: Adam Matthew, Marlborough, American History, 1493-1945.


[12]Salerno, Beth A. 2005. Sister societies: women's antislavery organizations in antebellum America. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press. Pg. 32. 


[14]Ibid. 26.

[15]Jeffery, Julie Roy. "The Liberty Women of Boston: Evangelicalism and Antislavery Politics." The New England Quarterly 85, no. 1 (2012): 38-77. 


Notable Figures