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(1838) Angelina Grimké Weld, “Speech in Pennsylvania Hall”

In the speech below Angelina Grimke Weld, who was born to a prominent slaveholding family in Charleston, South Carolina, invites the women and men of Philadelphia to join  her in the campaign against slavery.

Men, brethren and fathers -- mothers, daughters and sisters, what came ye out for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? Is it curiosity merely, or a deep sympathy with the perishing slave, that has brought this large audience together? Those voices without ought to awaken and call out our warmest sympathies. Deluded beings! they know not what they do. They know not that they are undermining their own rights and their own happiness, temporal and eternal. Do you ask, what has the North to do with slavery? Hear it -- hear it. Those voices without tell us that the spirit of slavery is here, and has been roused to wrath by our abolition speeches and conventions: for surely liberty would not foam and tear herself with rage, because her friends are multiplied daily, and meetings are held in quick succession to set forth her virtues and extend her peaceful kingdom. This opposition shows that slavery has done its deadliest work in the hearts of our citizens. Do you ask, then, what has the North to do? I answer, cast out first the spirit of slavery from your own hearts, and then lend your aid to convert the South. Each one present has a work to do, be his or her situation what it may, however limited their means, or insignificant their supposed influence. The great men of this country will not do this work; the church will never do it. A desire to please the world, to keep the favor of all parties and of all conditions, makes them dumb on this and every other unpopular subject. They have become worldly-wise, and therefore God, in his wisdom, employs them not to carry on his plans of reformation and salvation. He hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak to overcome the mighty.

As a Southerner I feel that it is my duty to stand up here to-night and bear testimony against