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Sarah Parker Remond
African American Woman

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Abolitionist Sarah Parker Remond

Abolitionist Sarah Parker Remond
In 1853, Sarah Remond (1826 - 1894), was forcibly removed and pushed down a flight of stairs at the Howard Athenaeum in Boston, Massachusetts where she had gone to attend the opera, Don Pasquale, for which she had purchased a ticket. This incident stemmed from her refusal to sit in a segregated section for the show. Remond sued for damages and won her case.

In 1856, the American Anti-Slavery Society hired a team of lecturers, including Remond, her brother Charles Lenox Remond, a well-known antislavery lecturer in the United States and Great Britain, and Susan B. Anthony to tour New York State addressing anti-slavery issues.

Sarah proved to be such a good speaker, and such a good fundraiser, that she was invited to take the anti-slavery message to Great Britain, something her brother had done ten years before. Accompanied by Samuel May, Jr., she sailed for Liverpool on December 28, 1858 from Boston on the steamer Arahia to enlist the aid of the English people in the American antislavery movement.

Before she sailed, she told Abby Kelly Foster, she feared not "the wind nor the waves, but I know that no matter how I go, the spirit of prejudice will meet me." In fact, she met with acceptance in Britain. "I have been received here as a sister by white women for the first time in my life,” she wrote; "I have received a sympathy I never was offered before." She spoke out against both slavery and racial discrimination, stressing the sexual exploitation of black women under slavery. At Tuckerman Institute on January 21, 1859, Remond gave her first antislavery lecture on the free soil of Britain. Without notes she eloquently spoke of the inhuman treatment of slaves in the United States.

Her stories of these atrocities shocked many of her listeners, bringing tears to the eyes of the British. She played an important role in drawing the attention of British abolitionists to the problems endured by free Blacks as well throughout the United States. In her short autobiography, written in 1861, she stressed that "prejudice against colour has always been the one thing, above all others, which has cast its gigantic shadow over my whole life."

While giving the speeches she found time to attend Bedford College for Ladies in London. She studied French, Latin, English literature, music, history and elocution. During her years in Britain, she combined lecturing with studying at the Bedford College for Ladies (now part of the University of London).

Remond visited Rome and Florence on several occasions while living in England. In 1866, she left London and entered the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital in Florence, Italy as a medical student at the age of 42. She became a doctor and married an Italian, Lazzaro Pinto from Sardinia, on April 25th, 1877, and as far as is known, never returned to the United States. (In fact, two of her sisters joined her in self-imposed exile.) She practiced medicine in Florence, Italy, for more than twenty years.

Sarah Remond died on December 13, 1894 in Italy. She was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome.

"Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia" Vol 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine