“That in consequence of the odium which the degradation of slavery has attached to color even in the free states, our colored sisters are dreadfully oppressed here”(1)
Angelina Grimké was a white abolitionist who also advocated for equal rights of women. In this appeal she calls out the implications slavery has on even the free northern states and the oppression free black women face everyday. Free blacks “faced significant limits on their freedom, including restrictions on movement, voting, gun ownership, testifying in court, and serving on jury”(2) While there are strides being made in both the progression of women and racial rights the system is still very much rooted in slavery and even thousands of miles away from it a black woman still faces the persecution of her skin color. The South was so fond of slavery because with the creating of the cotton gin in 1793 and the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 it greatly increased the profits obtained from slave picked cotton in the South (3). But the North was also tied heavily to slavery with the expansion of factories producing textiles, which carries into the oppression faced by black people in free states.
In addition, because of superior attitudes there was degradation in labor between whites and blacks and between female and male. The white man believed that his work was more valuable than the same labor of a black man, and the man believed his labor was more valuable and skilled than the same work performed by a woman, which led to problems with wages, and the impossibility of creating labor unions. Which correlates to what Grimké is portraying here because regardless of where a person falls in the social hierarchy they were all affected by the intersectionality of oppression.
- “An Appeal to the Women of the Nominally Free States, By Angelina Grimke.” In Root of Bitterness: Documents of the Social History of American Women, 246-51. 2nd ed. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1996.
- Berkin, Carol , ed. “Women in Ninteeth Century America.” Clio in the Classroom . Ed. Margaret Crocco and Barbara Winslow. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 38. Print.
- Berkin, Carol , ed. “Women in Ninteeth Century America.” Clio in the Classroom . Ed. Margaret Crocco and Barbara Winslow. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 34. Print.