Angelina Weld Grimke

By Jenni Chen
1st period

external image grimke.gif
Angelina Grimke was born in Boston Massachusetts, and was the daughter of Archibald Grimke, the vice-president of the NAACP (welcome). The whole Grimke family was involved in the civil rights, causing Angelina to become the person she was. Angelina's mother was not colored, and at the age of three, she took Angelina aways from her father. Angelina later returned at the age of seven, and never saw her mother again. Angelina did not just start out as a famous poet and dramatist. After graduating from various schools, she became a gym teacher and later an english teacher. Grimke continued to teach english until her retirement.

Anglina Grimke started writing poetry around the same time she started teaching. Her first published poem, "El Baso", was a famous poem about love (welcome). Most of her poems were about love, but she wrote a variety of different poems and themes. Grimke also wrote a few plays. One of her plays, "Rachel", was presented by the NAACP. "Rachel" was a play that displayed the cruelties of lynching at the time, and it opened the hearts of all of it's audience (women).

Grimke let her heart show in all of the works of art she wrote. She showed her longing for her mother and love in her poetry, and her hatred and resentment of how her community was treated in her plays. After her father died, Angelina had a hard time writing good works, and she died of illness in 1958 (Biography).

Poetry Analysis

Trees (trees)

God made them very beautiful, the trees:
He spoke and gnarled of bole or silken sleek
They grew; majestic bowed or very meek;
Huge-bodied, slim; sedate and full of glees.
And He had pleasure deep in all of these.
And to them soft and little tongues to speak
Of Him to us, He gave wherefore they seek
From dawn to dawn to bring unto our knees.
Yet here amid the wistful sounds of leaves,
A black-hued grewsome something swings and
Laughter it knew and joy in little things
Till man's hate ended all. -And so man weaves.
And God, how slow, how very slow weaves He-
Was Christ Himself not nailed to a tree?

Grimke displays some of the same themes as most of the works written during the Harlem Renaissance. Her poem conveys the longing the community had to be treated equal, and how it was ended. Her poem says that God created everything, and everything was happy. She wrote about how He gave them things that made them happy, and He wanted them to be equal. Grimke compared all of the people to different trees that God created, and she spoke from her heart about the hurt that she was feeling inside,

In her poem, Angelina Grimke uses a lot of metaphors, she uses trees to describe the colored community, and she said that "God made them very beautiful, the trees". She describes the trees with a lot of detail, using words like "gnarled of bole"(2). Near the end of the poem, she said that "man's hate ended it all"(12). It is most likely that she means man's hatred seperated their races, and treated them terribly.

Like most of her poems, Grimke ended her poem in a seemingly rhetorical question. In this one, she asks "Was Christ Himself not nailed to a tree?"(14). The whole poem was just building up to the last line of the poem. The climax and last sentence of the poem reflected the Harlem Renaissance more than anything else in the poem. When she asked that question, the hidden meaning behind it conveyed optimism that Christ was still watching out for them, and that He Himself was nailed to a tree for them, and would continue to protect them. That kind of optimism can only be found in the inspiring works of the Harlem Renaissance.

Works Cited

"Angelina Weld Grimké: Biography from" Wiki Q&A Combined with Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Encyclopedias. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <>.
"Angelina Weld Grimke."
Welcome to English « Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <>.
"Trees - Written by Famous Black Poet Angelina W. Grimke... "African American Poetry""
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"Women of Color Women of Word -- African American Female Playwrights - Angelina Weld Grimke."
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