Philadelphia’s Incendiary Wedding Of 1838

 

courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia

courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia

  • On this week 175 years ago, the deliberately provocative wedding of prominent abolitionists Angelina Grimké and Theodore Dwight Weld at 1330 Spruce Street—whose guest list Ken Finkel calls “a Who’s Who of American Abolitionism, Feminism and Social Progressivism”—incited Philadelphians towards the burning of abolitionist Pennsylvania Hall at 6th & Race. The race riot showcased the latent sectional divide of the lower Northern city and provided it with one of its more understudied great historical events. While “similar outrages,” said Reverend William Henry Furness soon after, “have been perpetrated … in other parts of our country… now the evil has come close to us—to our very doors. The whole city has been illuminated by the glare of the incendiary’s torch.”
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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