The Grimké Sisters: A Mural at UUCS
Modified on: February 24, 2021
It Was A Great Day!
(August 18, 2020)
Thank you for attending and/or watching the live-stream of the dedication of the League of Women Voters public art on the wall of our church building, Determined: A Tribute to the Grimké Sisters.
A beautiful weather day, 60 plus live attendees, great energy, and 4 speakers who celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, women winning the right to vote.
As Ruth Littlejohn, Mayor Pro Tem and City Council Member said about Sarah and Angelina Grimké,
“They stood for justice and equality and dignity for every person. That fight continues today. We can take heart in knowing that courageous people who stand up and communities that come together to fight for what is right and speak out against injustice do make a difference. The Grimké sisters made a difference years and years ago, we might not be able to see it right now, but those of us who are fighting for equality and justice today in Spartanburg are making a difference.
For me, this mural is a reminder of how far we have come and inspires us to keep moving forward.
May we all have the kind of courage the Grimké sisters had. That is what is needed now, more than ever.”
Karen Mitchell, LWV of Spartanburg – President
Dedication of Grimké Mural, Determined
A Tribute to the Grimké Sisters
The Grimké Mural was donated to UUCS by the Spartanburg League of Women Voter’s and the dedication was held on August 18, 2020 in the UUCS parking lot. Many were able to attend the dedication. If you missed it, you can watch it on this YouTube link: https://youtu.be/D8noqpJCaAg.
The mural is done. The gorgeous design by artist Nancy Corbin and the masterful painting done by Stephen Long and Jeremy Kemp produced a terrific addition to our church.
This mural honors the memory of Angelina and Sarah Grimké. They were South Carolina sisters who were both abolitionists and suffragists in the nineteenth century. In the 1820s they were castigated for speaking in public against slavery.
Letters on Equality of the Sexes, by Sarah Grimké, was an important early women’s rights treatise. The Grimkés were part of a mass movement of black and white women within the abolitionist movement who began blending their anti-slavery work with women’s rights activism. “Determined” is a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of women’s winning the right to vote with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.
Invitation to Grimké mural ‘Determined‘ dedication:
A Tribute to the Grimké Sisters
A Work of Public Art
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Hosted Visits 10:00 a.m.—1:00 p.m.
Brief Remarks 10:00 a.m.
Unitarian Universalist Church Main Parking Lot. Parking is available in back lot (Wheeler Court).
Please wear a mask; social distancing will be practiced.
Dedication of mural will also be live-streamed https://youtu.be/D8noqpJCaAg.
August 9th from 5:00-7:00 and Aug 11th from 10:00-Noon…Mural Notecards
A late addition to the Social Justice trifecta is a 4th opportunity. 3 beautiful notecards of the Gimké Mural on the side of the UU building can be bought for $5.00. The League of Women Voters is selling them to continue its work of Making Democracy Work.
Powerful Article on Grimké Mural
“These are women who knew in the 19th century that black lives matter. They wanted to get rid of slavery, and they wanted women to be equal.” (Karen Mitchell, President of the League of Women Voters-Spartanburg and UUCS member, on the Grimké Sisters)
July 19, 2020, the Spartanburg Herald-Journal featured the completed Grimké Mural at UUCS. Powerful interpretations by artist Nancy Corbin and League of Women Voters President and UUCS member Karen Mitchell speak to the meaning of the stunning work of public art. A vivid gallery of photos of the mural in-process and completed is included, which you can scroll through at the article’s conclusion.
Click here to read the full story: https://www.goupstate.com/news/20200719/league-of-women-voters-spartanburg-artists-partner-for-commemorative-mural
Thank you to everyone who has done so much to bring this profound idea into a lived reality for us all.
The Grimké Sisters: A Mural at UUCS
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment and women’s right to vote this year, the Spartanburg chapter of the League of Women Voters has commissioned a work of public art in honor of the Grimké sisters. Sarah and Angelina Grimké, originally from Charleston and annual visitors to a family farm on the border of Spartanburg County during their childhood summers, became leading abolitionists and suffragists in the 19th century. The League would like to create a mural in honor of the Grimkés and all who have fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.
And they would like for the mural to be at UUCS. The cost of the mural will be fully funded by the League, and it would be placed on our building facing Henry and Union Streets for maximum public viewing. Our Board has worked with the League’s leadership on design and placement, and have approved the mural in principle contingent on a comment period from our congregation.
Local artist and educator Nancy Corbin has designed the mural in honor of the Grimké sisters to represent all who fight for freedom together. The location would be the exterior of Wilde Hall, below our Sanctuary. New landscaping to provide better access and viewing of the site are part of the project.
The following three pictures show (1) the location, (2) the location with a sketch at scale superimposed, and (3) a watercolor sketch of the mural in full color:
On behalf of the League and the Board, I would like to ask for your comments on this project proposal. Please submit them by May 15 (prior to our next Board meeting on May 20). You may send these to our Board at email@example.com, which all of our Board members and minister will receive.
About the Grimké Sisters
Angelina Grimké Weld and Sarah Grimké were important women in the quest for abolition of slavery and women’s rights.
They were raised in Charleston on a plantation owned by their wealthy and well known father. They spent some summers on property near Cross Anchor. They had a typical upper-class South Carolina upbringing, but both became opposed to slavery at an early age.
Sarah moved north first and Angelina followed her in the early 1830’s. Thousands of people walked miles to hear them speak on the evils of slavery. The sisters raised money for the abolitionist movement. They were doing this at a time when it was not considered appropriate for women to speak in public. Both of them came in for criticism for stepping outside of women’s proper roles.
Angelina was the first woman to speak to a state legislature in 1838 when she addressed a committee of the Massachusetts legislature. Because they felt their voices were limited on account of being women, the sisters became suffragists as they saw how women were not treated equally.
After the Civil War, when African American men could vote, the sisters always went to the polls and cast “fake” ballots in a women’s box.
In the 1850’s they found out their father had 3 sons by a mixed race woman. The sisters paid for 2 of them to go to Harvard and Howard. One went to Princeton Theological Seminary and was the minister of the 15th St. Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. for 40 years. The other worked for civil rights, helped found the NAACP in 1909 and in 1914 became the NAACP President in Washington D.C.
Their journey is well documented as they wrote pamphlets, books and many letters. Our library has a biography of them which we recommend. There is a new biography coming out this spring, too.
Meditations on the Grimké Sisters
In March 2019, the services at UUCS focused on the lives of Sarah and Angelina Grimké. The meditations may be heard here:
“Your Sister’s Eyes” (March 3, 2019): https://uucs.org/services/your-sisters-eyes/
“Intellect” (March 10, 2019): https://uucs.org/services/intellect/
“Two Voices” (March 17, 2019): https://uucs.org/services/two-voices/
“Peace that Creates Justice” (March 24, 2019): https://uucs.org/services/peace-that-creates-justice/
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