Angelina Weld Grimké - Biography - Early Life and Education

Early Life and Education

Angelina Weld Grimké was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1880 to a biracial family. Her father, Archibald Grimké, was a lawyer, the second African American to have graduated from Harvard Law School. Her mother, Sarah Stanley, was European American from a Midwestern middle-class family. Information about her is scarce. Grimké's parents met in Boston, where he had established a law practice. Angelina was named for her father's aunt Angelina Grimké Weld, who with her sister Sarah Grimké had brought him and his brothers into her family after learning about him. (He was a natural son of her brother, who had died.)

When Grimké and Sarah Stanley married, they faced strong opposition from her family, due to concerns over race. The marriage did not last very long. Not long after Angelina's birth, Sarah left Archibald and returned with the infant to the Midwest. After Sarah began a career of her own, she sent Angelina, then seven, back to Massachusetts to live with her father. Angelina Grimké would have little to no contact with her mother after that. Sarah Stanley committed suicide several years later.

Angelina's paternal grandfather was Henry Grimké, of a large and wealthy slaveholding family based in Charleston, South Carolina. Her paternal grandmother was Nancy Weston, an enslaved woman of mixed race, with whom Henry became involved as a widower. They lived together and had three sons: Archibald, Francis and John (born after his father's death in 1852). Henry taught Nancy and the boys to read and write. Among Henry's family were two sisters who had opposed slavery and left the South before he began his relationship with Weston; Sarah and Angelina Grimké became notable abolitionists in the North. The Grimkés were also related to John Grimké Drayton of Magnolia Plantation near Charleston, South Carolina.

Angelina's uncle, Francis J. Grimké, graduated from Lincoln University, PA and Princeton Theological Seminary. He became a Presbyterian minister in Washington, DC. He married Charlotte Forten, who became known as an abolitionist and diarist. She was from a prominent black abolitionist family from Philadelphia. From the ages of 14 to 18, Angelina lived with her aunt and uncle in Washington, DC and attended school there, as her father was serving as appointed consul (1894 and 1898) to the Dominican Republic,

Angelina Grimké next attended the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics (now Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (Sargent College)). After graduating, she and her father moved to Washington, D.C. to be with his brother and family.

Read more about this topic:  Angelina Weld Grimké, Biography

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