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15th Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC

This is a 19th Century photo of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church in DC. There is now a more modern building. At the entrance there is a photo of Francis Grimke as an old man.

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  1. Bill, it is a delight to discover you and your ancestry via the internet! I’m a retired minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who has always admired not only the Grimke sisters but also their half-brother, the first African-American graduate of my own alma mater Princeton Theological Seminary. I have a Ph.D. in American religious history–and in my graduate studies at Union Theological Seminary, New York, I first came across, with appreciation, these three Grimkes.
    Today, in horror and in reaction to the inexcusable tactics of one Newt Gingrich, in his appeal to white South Carolinia Republicans to endorse him for the U.S. Presidency, I wrote the letter below to our local Knoxville, Tennessee, newspaper. Would enjoy hearing from you.

    Cordially, Dwyn M. Mounger

    To the editors: Knoxvile NEWS SENTINEL:

    How appalling that Gingrich, from his knowledge of racist history, stereotypes African-Americans for his political advantage! But it’s equally wrong to stereotype white South Carolinians. The Grimke sisters, antebellum Charleston aristocrats, appalled by slavery, converted to Quakerism and abolition, moving north. Well before Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) planter, University of S.C. English professor, and Presbyterian elder James McBride Dabbs declared, “The Negro is always with us as we are with him. There he is before our eyes, the symbol of our sin, the living reminder to our hearts that our words are wrong.” See his 1958 interview by Mike Wallace: http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/multimedia/video/2008/wallace/dabbs_james_mcbride_t.html
    Because of 9/11 and continuing atrocities of fanatics who claim to act in God’s name, it’s fashionable today for many to decry all religion. But Martin Luther King, Jr., and U.S. civil rights clearly sprang from the churches, black and white. And (thank God!) the South has always known a saving remnant of progressive Caucasians who have dared speak up.

    Dwyn Mounger, Knoxville, TN

    January 19, 2012
  2. Bill, I forgot to add that Grimke was originally a Huguenot (French Protestant) name. Persecuted heavily especially by King Louis XIV for their faith, hundreds of thousands fled to England, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, even to Russia and South Africa, where they greatly contributed to their adopted nations. (English silversmiths & linens–Canterbury Cathedral crypt still has a Huguenot place of worship, as does London’s Soho; Sir John Houblon, first president of the Bank of England, was from Huguenot extraction, etc., etc.). April 23-May 4, 2012, I’m leading a Huguenot Heritage Tour to Geneva and France. Would enjoy having you & your family rendezvous with us, at the beginning of our tour, on May 24, in Geneva. For full details visit http://www.reformationtours.com/ and click on “Current Tours.” It would be great to have you explore with us the remarkable, historic places of your ancestors!
    Cordially, Dwyn

    January 19, 2012

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