ability to identify these important constraints placed on women by society established her as a harbinger of the woman's rights movement in the United States.
In addition to introducing important theoretical concepts adopted by later advocates and intellectuals, Grimké recognized and fought against the oppression of African-American and all working-class women. Cady Stanton and most other leaders of the woman's rights movement did little to promote the interests of women other than those of the white middle and upper classes. Although Grimké Letters did not discuss woman suffrage or divorce laws or provide as thorough an analysis of woman's subjugation as Cady Stanton did in her address at Seneca Falls, Grimké offered a strong theoretical base on which the next generation of advocates might build.
Rhetoric has long been the domain of those in power. In the United States, the powerful have been and continue to be elite white males. Sarah Grimké and others like her attempted to change that state of affairs by addressing societal problems in the public arena. She faced numerous obstacles throughout her brief rhetorical career. Her rhetorical efforts to overcome these barriers make her an apt representative of the majority of nondominant speakers, especially women who faced similar barriers and creatively invented strategies to overcome them.
Primary materials are in two major sources, the Theodore Dwight Weld, Angelina Grimké Weld, and Sarah Grimké Papers, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan (WGM), and the Antislavery Manuscripts, Boston Public Library.
Letters of Theodore Dwight Weld, Angelina Grimké and Sarah Grimké, 1822-1844. 2 vols. Eds. Gilbert H. Barnes and Dwight L. Dumond. 1834. Gloucester, Mass.: P. Smith, 1965. ( LTDW)
Grimké Sarah. Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and Other Essays. Ed. Elizabeth Ann Bartlett . New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988.
The Public Years of Sarah and Angelina Grimké: Selected Writings, 1835-1839. Ed. and annot. Larry Ceplair. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989.
Barnes Gilbert H. The Antislavery Impulse, 1830-1844. Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1957.
Bartlett Elizabeth Ann. "Liberty, Equality, Sorority: Origins and Interpretations of American Feminist Thought: Frances Wright, Margaret Fuller, and Sarah Grimké." Ph.D. diss., University of Minnesota, 1981. AAC 8206325
Campbell K. Kohrs, and E. Claire Jerry. "Woman and Speaker: A Conflict in Roles."