The William Blake House in Charleston, SC

Just another famous place in Charleston

Just another famous place in Charleston

This is the placard at the William Blake house in Charleston, SC.  What the placard does not tell us is that this is also the house where Angelina Grimke, the youngest child of a prominent slave-holding family in early 1800’s Charleston, lived and taught slaves how to read, which was forbidden.  She went on to become an outspoken critic of slave-holding, and her life became one of activism. 

The entrance facing Bay Street

The entrance facing Bay Street

The house is a law office now. 

The back entrance

The back entrance

According to what we read in several books, Angelina began teaching her hand-maiden, a nice word for her slave (in some places referred to as her attendant).   Angelina was an outspoken advocate of abolitionism and women’s rights.  The house is listed in a book of famous houses of Charleston as 321 East Bay Street.  I was surprised there was no plaque to commemorate this remarkable woman, or her family, or her accomplishments….

She is a descendant of Thomas Smith, of Medway Plantation fame.

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19 Responses to “The William Blake House in Charleston, SC”

  1. Anna Says:

    I am doing the Grimke sisters for a report and they are very interesting.

    Like

  2. Bill Grimke-Drayton Says:

    I was fortunate enough twice to be allowed in to view the inside of the building. Check out my website – http://www.grimke.co.uk. I’m their gggg nephew.

    http://grimke.wordpress.com/grimke-sisters-and-nephews-2/
    http://grimke.wordpress.com/category/family-pen-portraits/page/4/

    Like

  3. William J. Kornahrens Says:

    I use to live there for many years when I was a young man in the left hand side street level apartment, we moved out in the summer of 1958.

    Like

    • ruthrawls Says:

      Welcome to the blog, and thank you for your comment! For some reason, this blog post gets hits every day. What, precisely, are internet folks wanting to know?

      Like

      • JerseyIng Says:

        “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kid (“The Secret Life of Bees”) was published in January. It’s a fictional account of the lives of the Grimke sisters. There were actually two of them Angelina and Sara…

        Liked by 1 person

        • ruthrawls Says:

          Hello JerseyIng, and welcome to the blog! I did not know about this book, but I loved The Secret Life of Bees. Thank you for sharing!

          Like

  4. Deb Says:

    Why is the Grimke name not on the placard? Who was William Blake? Did he buy the house after Angelina’s parents died?

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  5. Gallivanta Says:

    Most interesting. Especially the connection with the Secret Lives of Bees.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. hashtaghouston Says:

    I loved “The Invention of Wings” and can’t seem to get enough of the Grimke Sisters. Thanks for sharing this blog post and the information in the replies. It’s been fun learning about them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. nellie freeman Says:

    lived in this house with my grandmother as a youn girl in the 1950’s thru 1960’s

    Liked by 1 person

    • ruthrawls Says:

      Hello nellie freeman, and welcome to the blog! Can you share some of your memories here? If you like, you can write a guest blog post. Email to me at ruthmarierawls(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

      Like

  8. GRIMKE SISTER’S ABOLITIONISTS | sarahandangelinagrimketourscharlestonsc Says:

    […] https://ruthrawls.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/the-william-blake-house-in-charleston-sc/ […]

    Liked by 1 person

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