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I blog about my Catholic faith, my prayer life, good books and good movies.

Inspiring Speeches: "Ain't I A Woman" by Sojourner Truth

Abigail Benjamin

From a speech made in 1851 to a women's convention in Akron, Ohio by African American hero Sojourner Truth. Truth was born into slavery in New York State and she was freed when the state emancipated its slaves at age 32. She made this speech at age 56 after a clergyman said that the inclusion of women's rights would damage the cause of the abolition of slavery because "Jesus Christ was a man" and "Eve tempted Adam." 

"Well, children, there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the Negroes of the South and the women of the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man-when I could get it-and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen them most all sold off into slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in my head; what's this they call it?  [Intellect, someone whispers.] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or Negro's rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my half-measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? From God and woman! Man had nothing to do with him!

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, or get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner Truth aint got nothing more to say."