Known for: African American abolitionist, women’s rights advocate
Dates: June 6, 1826 – December 13, 1894
Sarah Parker Remond was born in 1826 in Salem, Massachusetts. Her maternal grandfather, Cornelius Lenox, fought in the American Revolution. Sarah Remond’s mother, Nancy Lenox Remond, was a baker who married John Remond. John was a Curaçaon immigrant and hairdresser who became a citizen of the United States in 1811, and he became active in the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in the 1830s.
Nancy and John Remond had at least eight children.
Sarah Remond had six sisters. Her older brother, Charles Lenox Remond, became an antislavery lecturer, and influenced Nancy, Caroline and Sarah, among the sisters, to become active in anti-slavery work. They belonged to the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society, founded by black women including Sarah’s mother in 1832. The Society hosted prominent abolitionist speakers, including William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Williams.
The Remond children attended public schools in Salem, and experienced discrimination because of their color. Sarah was refused admission to Salem’s high school. The family moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where the daughters attended a private school for African American children.
In 1841, the family returned to Salem. Sarah’s much-older brother Charles attended the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London with others including William Lloyd Garrison, and was among the American delegates who sat in the gallery to protest the refusal of the convention to seat women delegates including Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Charles lectured in England and Ireland, and in 1842, when Sarah was sixteen, she lectured with her brother in Groton, Massachusetts.
When Sarah attended a performance of the opera Don Pasquale at the Howard Athenaeum in Boston in 1853 with some friends, they refused to leave a section reserved for whites only.
A policeman came to eject her, and she fell down some stairs. She then sued in a civil suit, winning five