Sirpa SaleniusSep 27, 2023
An Abolitionist Abroad
Sarah Parker Remond in Cosmopolitan Europe
University of Massachusetts Press 2016
Sarah Parker Remond (1826–1894) left the free black community of Salem, Massachusetts, where she was born, to become one of the first women to travel on extensive lecture tours across the United Kingdom. Remond eventually moved to Florence, Italy, where she earned a degree at one of Europe's most prestigious medical schools. Her language skills enabled her to join elite salons in Florence and Rome, where she entertained high society with musical soirees even while maintaining connections to European emancipation movements.
Remond's extensive travels and diverse acquaintances demonstrate that the nineteenth-century grand tour of Europe was not exclusively the privilege of white intellectuals but included African American travelers, among them women. Sirpa Salenius' book An Abolitionist Abroad: Sarah Parker Remond in Cosmopolitan Europe (U Massachusetts Press, 2016), based on international archival research, tells the fascinating story of how Remond forged a radical path, establishing relationships with fellow activists, artists, and intellectuals across Europe.