Saturday, July 20, 2013


Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain't I A Woman?
Delivered 1851
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 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 - 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 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? 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.
 Stolen shamelessly and with gratitude from my dear friend margaret who blogs at "leave it lay where Jesus flang it".

Collect of the Day: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Ross Tubman, Liberators and Prophets, 1902, 1894, 1883, 1913
O God, whose Spirit guides us into all truth and makes us free: Strengthen and sustain us as you did your servants Elizabeth, Amelia, Sojourner, and Harriet. Give us vision and courage to stand against oppression and injustice and all that works against the glorious liberty to which you call all your children; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Russ Manley said...

Where did your Christ come from? What a wonderful question, and speech. Alas, Wikipedia informs us that the version we now have is somewhat of an embellishment upon the plainer, simpler original - but nevertheless, a real delight on many levels.

If she didn't say it just this way - she should have.

Bonnie said...

Moved to tears.

Grandmère Mimi said...

We southerners don't mind embellishments, if the story improves with the changes.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Fordham posted the same version of the speech as I did.

Grandmère Mimi said...

How brave of Sojourner to give the speech.

Russ Manley said...

Oh you're so right, we just love embellishments down here in Dixie - which must be why there are so many good Southern storytellers.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Snopes says the version written up in the newspaper the day after the speech is correct. Oh well.

Bonnie said...

Well today after the homily our rector then gave another homily during the announcements! It was smoking hot! NC is sore beset with some major social justice issues at the moment. Which, of course, always hurt the already marginalized in our society. I think Sojourner would have been proud of him. I know many of us were proud of him and that homily garnered our applause and respect.

Also, just a tad OT. I loved the Pavarotti & Bono Ava Maria on Margaret's blog. Also, smoking hot!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Bonnie, how good to hear that your rector spoke out. North Carolina seemed to be moving in a progressive direction a few years ago, and now the people in charge seem to be losing their minds.

Margaret's music videos were wonderful.

Bonnie said...

Sigh! I know this is snark BUT...

They can't lose something they never had. It's a mess here.

Grandmère Mimi said...

True. :-(

tonip1 said...

thank you for this post Grandmere Mimi,
Being from northeast Ohio (Cleveland) and with a governor trying his hardest to put women back 150 years, I am moved to tears, especially in these times, by the truth so bravely spoken by Sojouner Truth here in Ohio so long ago. While it is disheartening that so much still needs to be done (or redone), it is also inspiring that we have women like Sojouner Truth as examples to follow.
And Alice did a great job reading it too!

Grandmère Mimi said...

tonip1, you're welcome. What is going on in our country? In the end, the people who are trying to drag us back into the past will be brought down, but what do we do now about the madness loose in the land?