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(NECN) - The year was 1838 and the institution of slavery had begun to trouble the conscience of the nation. That was the year, two sisters came up from the south to add their voices to the northern abolition movement. On Monday, two Massachusetts women revived the memory of those sisters -- and their voices -- under the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House. NECN’s Greg Wayland has the story. Script: “My name is Sarah Grimke. And I am Angelina Grimke.” Their real names are Lani Peterson, psychologist and storyteller and Susan Lenoe, actress and storyteller. On this afternoon at the Massachusetts State House, they were re-enacting a speech given by Sarah and Angelina Grimke -- two sisters from South Carolina, daughters of slave owners, who more than two decades before the Civil War were touring northern cities to tell everyone who would listen about the horrors and injustice of slavery. In 1938, they came up to Beacon Hill and gave their speech to Massachusetts lawmakers. This is how they began their appeal. “I am here to tell you, that this atrocity occurs daily in the streets of our southern cities. And my sister and I will not rest until every man, woman and child in chains is released from their bondage.” Things did not always go well for the sisters Grimke during their 1838 northern tour -- they related to a 21st century audience what they suffered at the hands of some of their 19th century audiences. “Worse than the passive response of our northern neighbors, is the violent resistance that my sister and I experienced last week in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Hall, I’m sure you have heard, is burned -- burned to the ground. That hall for freedom of speech that was built with twenty-dollar donations from all over this country. And some of you have given those donations, haven't you?” Both women are from Andover, M.ass, but when I spoke with Lani Peterson, who portrays Angelina Grimke, she held to the warm southern drawl of her character. “These are challenging times we live in now, and I believe that the word of the Grimke’s over a hundred and seventy years ago still rings true in this day -- that we must find our truth and speak it, that we might move ahead towards justice in this country, sir.” But for the two women with literature and theatre backgrounds, the story of the obscure but important speaking tour by the little known or celebrated Grimke sisters was a piece of history that needed to be re-told. They decided to dramatize it -- in period costumes. “We couldn't believe that we had never heard of them. I have three daughters of my own and I thought, I want them to know this story.” “The only trouble I had, was that I said, we can't play sisters. I'm too old to be your sister. But then we found out that there is thirteen years between the sisters, so, well I said, alright.” “We in the north, sometimes feel that we are innocent of these injustices of slavery. But every time we turn a blind eye to the suffering slave, we are as guilty as the southern master who is snapping his whip.” In a corridor of the Massachusetts State House, there are images of a half dozen notable women. But they do not include the Grimke sisters, even though, when in 1838 they addressed the Massachusetts legislature they became the first women in the country to address a legislative body. “I would follow my sister down to the slave quarters in the evening where she would read the Bible to the slaves.” In Massachusetts, they were oddities -- anti-slavery southerners-- who at home had met resistance from family and church over their activities. They got a ready hearing from their 21st century Boston audience -- and, despite some violent resistance in their own era, won some northern hearts and minds. “Though sometimes they called her Devilina, instead of Angelina. Said that we were only fit to marry monkeys.” Ultimately, they came to believe that Boston -- a hotbed of abolitionist activity and home to such activists as William Lloyd Garrison and Lucy Stone, would be the right place for their message. “And so it was, that we were told that we were now ready to go to Massachusetts. That is Massachusetts was ready to hear our story.”