Sophie Scholl was a German college student and a Christian anti-Nazi.
She was convicted of treason and died on the guillotine for her beliefs and resistance at the hands of the Nazis. Scholl is today a revered figure in Germany.
Many streets and schools bear her name. She was years ahead of her countrymen in recognizing the evils of Nazism.
The institution of slavery was an accepted norm by most Americans throughout the 18th century — including Washington, Jefferson and the majority of the Founding Fathers — and was accepted by the South (and by a majority of white northern Americans) up until the start of the Civil War.
For an individual to rise above these firmly accepted beliefs in 18th century America, or in the South preceding the Civil War, would have required extraordinary acts of courage and great personal risk — much like Sophie Scholl’s in Germany.
But there were individuals who did just that — and they were Charlestonians.
Sarah and Angelina Grimké were born into privilege to a prominent slave-holding family in early 19th century Charleston.
Early in their lives the sisters’ experiences and Christian beliefs compelled them to speak out against the inherent evil of that “peculiar institution.”
As young adults the sisters became avid abolitionists. They were forced to leave their family and banished by the state of South Carolina.
They moved to the North and worked tirelessly in the anti-slavery movement prior to the Civil War, and then for women’s rights after the war.
As a transplanted Missourian, I believe it should be left to native Carolinians to name their streets and schools.
But if the decision were mine, you can bet there would be a Grimké Avenue or a Grimké Elementary School somewhere on the peninsula.
There is a Grimke Street in North Charleston, but not in Charleston.
Winged Foot Court