Sarah Remond spoke out against slavery
On this date in 1826, Sarah Parker Remond was born. She was a Black woman who was an abolitionist and one of the most articulate public speakers of her time.
She was born in Salem, MA, one of eight children. Although she had little schooling she educated herself by reading books, pamphlets, and newspapers borrowed from friends or purchased from the Anti-Slavery Society of her community. Her family and associates included many activists of the times, and Remond witnessed many of the effects of slavery and racism involving the Underground Railroad.
In 1853, she bought a ticket for the opera at Howard Athenaeum in Boston, but refused to sit in a segregated section for the show. She was forcibly removed and pushed down a flight of stairs.
Remond sued for damages and won her case. In 1856, the American Anti-Slavery Society hired a team of lecturers, including Remond, her brother Charles, and Susan B. Anthony to tour New York State addressing anti-slavery issues. Over the next two years, she and her brother, and many others spoke in Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. They were often confronted with improper accommodations due to being black.
During this time she became aware of the need for a good formal education. She wrote to a friend:“And when I consider that the only reason why I did not obtain what I so much desired was because I was the possessor of an unpopular complexion, it adds to my discomfort.” In 1859, she traveled to England to gain support against slavery, giving over 40 lectures in 18 cities and towns. Remond spoke movingly about the mistreatment of slaves in the United States, including the sexual abuse of females by their owners. Even as she toured giving the speeches, she found time to attend Bedford College for Ladies in London. She studied French, Latin, English literature, music, history, and elocution.
Little is known of her later years, although she did marry Lazzaro Pintor, a native of Sardinia. Sarah Parker Remond died on December 13, 1894, and was buried in Rome, Italy.
Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York
Today in American History