Lift Up Thy Voice:
The Grimké Family's Journey
from Slaveholders to Civil Rights Leaders

by Mark Perry

Lift Up Thy Voice (Viking)

Viking (2001). 406pp. including index. 6.125 x 9.25 inches. Hardcover. ISBN-10: 0-670-03011-2. ISBN-13: 978-0-670-03011-8.

Order Online from

From the Book Jacket

About the Book

In the late 1820s, Sarah and Angelina Grimké traded their elite position as daughters of a prominent slaveholding family in Charleston, South Carolina, for a life dedicated to abolitionism and advocacy of women's rights in the north. The sisters became leaders in the anti-slavery movement, and their actions have had lasting repercussions for the way Americans strive for equality and social justice, even today.

In 1868, Angelina and Sarah discovered that their now deceased brother had had children with one of his slaves. True to their ideals, the Grimké sisters invited their nephews into their lives, helped educate them, and gave them the means to start a new life in postbellum America. Archibald and Francis continued the fight for equality, becoming two of the most noted African Americans of their time. Francis, an influential Presbyterian minister, and Archibald, a lawyer, diplomat, writer, and editor, were deeply involved in the burgeoning civil rights movement and the founding of the NAACP. Archibald's daughter, Angelina Weld Grimké, would become a seminal Harlem Renaissance poet and playwright.

At once a social history and a family biograpy, Lift Up Thy Voice illustrates how the question of race dominates American history — and the quintessentially American dedication to progressive ideals and social action. Spanning 150 years, this is an inspiring tale of a remarkable family that transformed itself and America.

About the Author

Mark Perry is the author of Conceived in Liberty: Joshua Chamberlain, William Oates, and the American Civil War, a main selection of the History Book Club now available from Penguin, and three other books. An award-winning writer, he has written on history, the Middle East conflict, and American foreign policy for numerous magazines and newspapers. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

The front dust-jacket photo collage by Marc Yankus is derived from photographs from the Archibald Grimké Papers, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University. In the foreground is Nancy Weston Grimké; in the background are her sons Francis, Archibald, and John Grimké.

Note: Also see Gerda Lerner's The Grimké Sisters from South Carolina.

This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.