First Wave Feminists- Angelina Weld Grimke

Harlem Renaissance writer Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958) was the biracial daughter of Archibald Grimké, himself the son of a white man and a slave. Archibald named Angelina in honor of his aunt, abolitionist and suffragist Angelina Emily Grimké; she had housed and supported him in becoming the second African American ever to graduate from Harvard Law School, as well as a diplomat and leader in the NAACP. The poems and stories of Angelina Weld Grimké (who counted Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes among her contemporaries) were widely published in The Crisis, Opportunity, and Caroling Dusk. Her play Rachel, penned to combat the racist propaganda film The Birth of a Nation (1915), exposes lynching and other racial atrocities. Haunted by true events in a 1918 Anti-Lynching Crusaders report, Grimké wrote Goldie and Blackness; both portray the carving of an unborn baby from her lynched mother’s womb. Grimké said her graphic depictions of torture and abortion were meant to elicit empathy, especially from white women.

“If anything can make all women sisters underneath their skins, it is motherhood.”

– From Rachel, 1915-16 (1st printing, 1920)

“There is a time coming—and soon—when no colored man—no colored woman—no colored child, born or unborn—will be safe—in this country.”

– From “The Closing Door,” Birth Control Review, 1919