Sarah Parker Remond

African American Abolitionist

Sarah Parker Remond
Sarah Parker Remond. Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Known for: African American abolitionist, women’s rights advocate

Dates: June 6, 1826 – December 13, 1894

About Sarah Parker Remond

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.

Family Activism

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.

Sarah’s Activism

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 hundred dollars and an end to segregated seating at the hall.

Sarah Remond met Charlotte Forten in 1854 when Charlotte’s family sent her to Salem where the schools had become integrated.

In 1856, Sarah was thirty, and was appointed an agent touring New York to lecture on behalf of the American Anti-Slavery Society with Charles Remond, Abby Kelley and her husband Stephen Foster, Wendell Phillips, Aaron Powell, and Susan B. Anthony.

Living in England

In 1859 she was in Liverpool, England, lecturing in Scotland, England and Ireland for two years.  Her lectures were quite popular. She included in her lectures references to the sexual oppression of women who were enslaved, and how such behavior was in the economic interest of the enslavers.

She visited William and Ellen Craft while in London. When she tried to get a visa from the American legate to visit France, he claimed that under the Dred Scott decision, she was not a citizen and thus he could not grant her a visa.

The next year, she enrolled in college in London, continuing her lectures during school holidays. She remained in England during the American Civil War, participating in efforts to persuade the British not to support the Confederacy.

  Great Britain was officially neutral, but many feared that their connection to the cotton trade would mean they’d support the Confederate insurrection. She supported the blockade that the United States put up to prevent goods reaching or leaving the rebelling states. She became active in the Ladies’ London Emancipation Society. At the end of the war, she raised funds in Great Britain to support the Freedman’s Aid Association in the United States.

As the Civil War was ending, Great Britain faced a rebellion in Jamaica, and Remond wrote in opposition to British harsh measures to end the rebellion, and accused the British of acting like the United States.

Return to the United States

Remond returned to the United States, where she joined with the American Equal Rights Association to work for equal suffrage for women and African Americans.

Europe and Her Later Life

She returned to England in 1867, and from there traveled to Switzerland and then moved to Florence, Italy.  Not much is known of her life in Italy.  She married in 1877; her husband was Lorenzo Pintor, an Italian man, but the marriage apparently did not last long. She may have studied medicine. Frederick Douglass refers to a visit with the Remonds, probably including Sarah and two of her sisters, Caroline and Maritche, who also moved to Italy in 1885.  She died in Rome in 1894 and was buried there in the Protestant cemetery.