Remond, Sarah Parker

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Remond, Sarah Parker

June 6, 1826
December 13, 1884

Born in Salem, Massachusetts, one of eight children, abolitionist Sarah Remond was the daughter of John Remond, a black immigrant from Curaçao, and Nancy Lenox Remond, daughter of African-American Revolutionary War veteran Cornelius Lenox. The family was noted for its abolitionist activities. In 1832 Remond's mother helped found the Salem Anti-Slavery Society, and her sister Caroline became an active member. In 1835 her father became a life member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, and three years later, her brother, Charles Lenox Remond, began lecturing for the society. In 1835 Sarah Remond completed grade school, but she was denied admission to the local high school on racial grounds, so the family moved to Newport, Rhode Island, returning to Salem after her graduation in 1841. In July 1842 Remond joined her brother as an antislavery lecturer and began protesting segregation in churches, theaters, and other public places. In a well-publicized incident in 1853 at Boston's Howard Athenaeum, she refused to vacate a seat in the "whites-only" gallery during an opera. Arrested and thrown down the stairs, she subsequently won $500 in damages in a civil suit. In 1856 she was appointed a lecturing agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and she and her brother covered the Northeast and Midwest. Antislavery leaders hailed her dignified bearing and eloquent speech.

In 1859 Sarah Remond and her brother left for England to further the cause of abolition. Denied a visa to France by the American delegation in London, who claimed that because of her color she was not an American citizen, she toured Great Britain and Ireland. Bitter about the lack of educational opportunity in America, she welcomed the chance to study in Europe. She may have attended the Bedford College for Ladies in the years 1859 to 1861.

Remond stayed in England through the Civil War, urging the British to support the blockade of the Confederacy and raising money for freed slaves. In 1866 she returned to the United States. She attended the New York Constitutional Convention, where she lobbied unsuccessfully for universal suffrage. In 1867 she went back to Europe and settled in Italy, where she spent the rest of her life. She is believed to have studied medicine at the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital in Florence. Remond received her diploma for "Professional Medical Practice" in 1868, married Lorenzo Pintor in 1877, and died in Rome seven years later.

See also Abolition; Remond, Charles Lenox; Slavery


Bogin, Ruth. "Sarah Parker Remond: Black Abolitionist from Salem." In Black Women in American History from Colonial Times through the Nineteenth Century, vol. 1, edited by Darlene Clark Hine. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Carlson, 1990.

kim robbins (1996)