Sarah and Angelina Grimke are revered figures in American history, famous for rejecting their privileged lives on a plantation in South Carolina to become firebrand activists in the North. Yet retellings of their epic story have long obscured their Black relatives.
In The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family (Liveright, 2022), Kerri Greenidge presents a parallel narrative, shifting the focus from the white abolitionist sisters to the Black Grimkes and deepening our understanding of the long struggle for racial and gender equality.
Greenidge’s narrative centers on the Black women of the family, from the brilliant intellectual and reformer Charlotte Forten, to Angelina Weld Grimke, who channeled the family’s past into pathbreaking modernist literature during the Harlem Renaissance. In a grand saga that spans the eighteenth century to the twentieth and stretches from Boston and beyond, Greenidge reclaims the Black Grimkes as complex, often conflicted individuals shadowed by their origins.