Sarah Parker Remond 1826-1894. Photo Credit Wikipedia
Sarah Parker Remond, sister of orator Charles Lenox Remond, was a formidable orator and abolitionist in her own right. Born 6 JUN 1826 in Salem, Massachusetts, she was one of eight children born to free blacks John and Nancy Remond. The Remond's were very successful in Salem with catering, provisioning and hairdressing endeavors.
In 1835 Sarah and a younger sister passed the necessary exams to enter the Salem Higher Education School, but the girls were forced to leave because of the racist Board. Frustrated, the Remond family left moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where the girls attended a private school for Blacks. Sarah's father continued to lobby and fight the Salem School Board until 1841, when the decision was reversed, and the school was open to all.
In 1853, while attending an opera in Boston, Sarah was forcibly withdrawn and pushed down a flight of stair, because she refused to sit in a segregated section of the audience. She had paid the same price for her ticket, and was going to sit where she wanted. She sued and won. She was awarded $500.00. She proved that she was wronged.
In 1856, Sarah and her brother, Charles, and Susan B Antony became traveling orators for the American Anti-Slavery Society. Sarah went on to be one of the society's most eloquent, powerful and persuasive speakers. In 1858 she was invited to take the society's message to Great Brittan. She arrived in Liverpool, England in January 1859 and never returned to the United States.
The English were impressed by the genteel, eloquent, educated black women - "a lady every inch" - who always drew crowds when she spoke.She was instrumental in raising large sums of money for the anti-slavery cause. After the war, she spoke about the plight of the Freedmen, and collected money and clothing for them. She was a member of the London Emancipation Society and the Freedman's Aid Association in London.
While in Europe, Sarah continued her education studying French, LAtin, music, history, and public speaking at the Bedford College for Women. At 42 years old, Sarah decided to continue her education and started medical school in Florence. She passed away on 13 DEC 1893 in Florence.
On 24 DEC 1859, just 22 days after the hanging of John Brown, a review of one on Miss Remond's rousing speeches was written up in the Leeds Mercury Newspaper, published 3 times a week in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.
Miss REMOND then addressed the meeting in remarks characterised by great impressiveness and eloquence. She said she stood there to represent a race deprived of every privilege and even of hope. The American law had declared that black men and women had no rights which the white man was bound to respect. To her, that was a solemn and a sad hour. Every letter she received from across the Atlantic brought her tidings of the excitement rocking that land from its centre to its circumference, and she was constantly told—“Old John Brown sleeps to night in amartyr’s grave.” She had no word of censure for him, or for the means which he took to carry out his great idea. She had the honour of being identified with the ultra, the fanatical, the Garrisonian abolitionists of America, and having watched them from childhood’s hour, she thought they now occupied a more sublime position than they had ever before realised. What was the condition of America, enfolding within her warmest sympathies and encircling by her strong influence a system so foul and hideous that it called forth the execrations of the civilised world? Turn where they would, whether they regarded the legislative, the executive, the judicial, the political, or the religious opinions of that land, they found that, so far as the majority was concerned, they were wedded to slavery. American politics had sunk to a depth of degradation which she could not describe, and all the best men in America, with few exceptions, were outside the political arena. Even the Republican party had never dared to go beyond seeking to prevent the extension of slavery, and they had not yet laid the axe at the root of the tree. Every word of sympathy from English lips would tell in favour of the slave, and she asked them to send their moral protest across the Atlantic against the oligarchy which was crushing her brethren and sisters and reducing them to the lowest degradation. She referred to the support given to slavery by the religious and moral sentiment of America, and asserted that if this sentiment were really and truly opposed to slavery that curse would go down at once.
The clergymen of the States did more to carry out the fugitive slave law than any other portion of the community, and as a body they had much to answer for in this respect. Miss Remond concluded by an eloquent tribute to the memory of John Brown.