Modern History Sourcebook:
"Ain't I a Woman?", December 1851
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain't
I A Woman?
Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something
out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and
the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men
will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking
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 ever 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 most all sold off to 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 the head; what's this they
call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"]
That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or
negroes' 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 little half
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? Where did your Christ come from? From God
and a 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 , and 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 ain't got
nothing more to say.
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(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997