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Sarah Grimke & The Feminist Tradition: Shimer College Thought Series Lecture by Louise Knight

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Published on Oct 22, 2015

Heard of the Grimke Sisters? Author Louise Knight's documentary history: the feminist & abolitionist activism & philosophy of American icon, Sarah Grimke. This talk is brought to you by Shimer College's new youtube program "Bright Ideas: a Thought Series from Chicago." Check out and subscribe to our channel for free lectures, talks, symposia, artistic performances, and more.

--About Shimer College--
For those of you who are just discovering Shimer for the first time, Shimer is an alternative liberal arts College where students study a comprehensive “Great Books” program. This is just to say that our students take all seminar style classes instead of lectures, reading and discussing transformative books of the various fields of the liberal arts--math, science, philosophy, art, literature, psychology, sociology, anthropology and political science. We offer traditional four-year degrees, early entrance, and transfer paths. Oh, and of course, the financial aid and scholarships you need to make such a real education possible. Our biggest scholarship opportunities are the Dangerous Optimist Scholarship for transfer students transferring in the spring, and the Montaigne Scholarship for new students beginning in the fall. These scholarships, like our education, are designed to take you seriously—to meet you halfway and acknowledge the real seriousness of purpose and (in all honesty) the risk you take in applying. Shimer is a school that doesn’t cares less whether you’re an over-achiever or terminal procrastinator, and more whether you have a thirst for learning about and discussing things that matter, for preparing for a meaningful occupation in a world that needs creative, critical thinkers—not multiple-choice solutions.

-- More on Sarah Grimke --
[From Wikipedia]
"Sarah Moore Grimké (November 26, 1792 – December 23, 1873) was an American abolitionist, writer, and member of the women's suffrage movement. Born in South Carolina to a prominent planter family, she later moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she became a Quaker and joined her younger sister Angelina Grimké in the abolition movement. The sisters extensively spoke out in public to oppose slavery and advocate for women's rights. ...

Sarah and Angelina, although daughters of a plantation owner, had come to loathe slavery and all its degradations. They had hoped that their new faith would be more accepting of their abolitionist beliefs than their former had been. However, their initial attempts to attack slavery caused them difficulties in the Quaker community. The sisters persisted despite their belief that the fight for women's rights was as important as the fight to abolish slavery. They continued to be attacked, even by some abolitionists, who considered their position extreme. In 1836, Sarah published Epistle to the Clergy of the Southern States. In 1837, Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women was published serially in a Massachusetts newspaper, The Spectator, and immediately reprinted in The Liberator, the newspaper published by radical abolitionist and women's rights leader William Lloyd Garrison. The letters were published in book form in 1838.

When the sisters were together in Philadelphia, they devoted themselves to the Quakers' Society of Friends and other charity work. Sarah began working toward becoming a clergy member but was continually discouraged by male members of the church. Sarah realized that, though the church was something she agreed with in theory, it was not delivering on its promises.[citation needed] It was around this time that anti-slavery rhetoric began entering public discourse.

Joining her sister in the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1836, Sarah originally felt that she had found the place where she truly belonged, in which her thoughts and ideas were encouraged. However, as she and Angelina began speaking not only on abolition, but also on the importance of women's rights, they began to face much criticism. Their public speeches were seen as unwomanly because they spoke to mixed-gender audiences, called "promiscuous audiences" at the time. They also publicly debated men who disagreed with them. This was too much for the general public of 1837 and caused many harsh attacks on their womanhood; one line of thought suggested that they were both just poor "spinsters" displaying themselves in order to find any man who would be willing to take one."

--Wikipedia contributors, "Sarah Moore Grimké," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?... (accessed October 21, 2015).

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