(Angelina Weld Grimke)

:
www.sappho.com/poetry/a_grimke.html


Angelina Weld Grimke
1880-1958


Angelina Weld Grimke was born in 1880 in Boston, the only child of Archibald Grimke and Sarah Stanley. Angelina had a mixed racial background; her father was the son of a white man and a black slave, and her mother was from a prominent white family. Her parents named her after her great aunt Angelina Grimk Weld, a famous white abolitionist and women's rights advocate.

Angelina received a physical education degree at the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics in 1902. She worked as a gym teacher until 1907, when she became an English teacher, and she continued to teach until her retirement in 1926. During her teaching career, she wrote poetry, fiction, reviews, and biographical sketches. She became best known for her play entitled "Rachel." The story centers around an African-American woman (Rachel) who rejects marriage and motherhood. Rachel believes that by refusing to reproduce, she declines to provide the white community with black children who can be tormented with racist atrocities. "Rachel" was the only piece of Angelina's work to be published as a book; only some of her stories and poems were published, primarily in journals, newspapers, and anthologies.

Only her poetry reveals Angelina's romantic love toward women. The majority of her poems are love poems to women or poems about grief and loss. Some (particularly those published during her lifetime) deal with racial concerns, but the bulk of her poems are about other women, and were unlikely to be published for this reason. Only about a third of her poetry has been published to date.

Angelina's journal and letters reveal her lesbian tendencies from teenage years. At sixteen, she wrote to Mamie Burrill: "I know you are too young now to become my wife, but I hope, darling, that in a few years you will come to me and be my love, my wife! How my brain whirls how my pulse leaps with joy and madness when I think of these two words, 'my wife.'" But, despite Angelina's great passion, she kept her desires closeted throughout her life, trying to live up to her father's idea of morality. Her writing shows the effect self-denial had upon her, revealing her sorrow over her inability to find the female companionship that she so deeply desired.


Biography by Alix North

 1
eXTReMe Tracker