Speaking about Slavery

One of my joys is teaching speech. Here, Angelina Grimké Weld opens up in one of her most famous speeches.

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.

Angelina Grimké Weld, “Antislavery speech at Pennsylvania Hall Philadelphia.” 16 May 1838. American Speeches: Revolution to Civil War. New York: Library of America. 2006.

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