And ain’t I a woman?



by Sojourner Truth

Delivered 1851 at the Women’s Convention in 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 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 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…

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About jubilare

Just another tree in the proverbial forest. Look! I have leaves! View all posts by jubilare

9 responses to “And ain’t I a woman?

  • Brenton Dickieson

    “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.”

  • Colleen

    And this woman will grace our $20 bill instead of Andrew Jackson. ‘Bout time.

    • jubilare

      I certainly hope so! Is it official? When I look up stories about it I see Harriet Tubman mentioned, too (that would also be awesome) and Wilma Mankiller, a female Cherokee chief (which would have some poetic justice to it). My hope is for Truth, though. What a woman.

  • stephencwinter

    Thanks for reblogging this. We need to be prepared to hear anger. This is a call to holiness in its best sense.

    • jubilare

      As long as it’s a just anger, and doesn’t lose its focus on righting the wrongs. Sojourner’s words are a much-needed wake-up call, even today. Most of the arguments she was fighting against have given way to more subtle ones, but that tension between sex and race is still, sadly, with us.
      Thanks for reading!

      • stephencwinter

        My response was quite simple. I was moved by Sojourner’s passion and truth-telling. I wonder what will happen if the United States decides to elect a woman as President in 2016?

        • jubilare

          I think a woman president will face even more opposition and obstruction than Obama. It breaks my heart to say it, but it seems the most likely answer. Any president, in this climate, is going to face severe obstructionism… it seems to be the new hobby of too many of our officials right now. But our society, in the U.S., is still far more critical of women in places of power than of men. The first woman will be more under scrutiny than our presidents are already, which is to say, she will be under a microscope all the time. I do not envy the first woman to break that barrier, though I do hope to see it broken.
          Is that a very hopeless way to look at it? *sighs* our political system is very, very broken right now.

          • stephencwinter

            It worries me greatly that the unities created in the western democracies over centuries all seem to be under threat at present by forces of inertia and fragmentation. Gimli’s words to Legolas come to mind.
            “It is ever so with the things that Men begin: there is a frost in Spring or a blight in Summer, and they fail of their promise.”
            But faith and hope make me turn to Legolas’ response: “Yet seldom do they fail of their seed…And that will lie in the dust and rot to spring up again in times and places unlooked for.”

          • jubilare

            There is hope in that, indeed. I’m also a little encouraged by history (though that isn’t always the most encouraging place to look) in that upheavals come. They seem, indeed, to be necessary. In short, I think your quotes are spot-on.

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