"And ain’t I a woman?"

“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?”

–from Sojourner Truth‘s famous 1851 speech to a woman’s convention in Akron, Ohio. I first encountered it in The Vintage Book of Historical Feminism (pp. 94-95) but you can also read the full speech here. I love how Truth ends her speech: “Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.” I wish I have the guts to say something similar in my speeches.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s