Knowledge Session: “Ain’t I A Woman?” By Sojourner Truth



Sojourn­er Truth was the self-giv­en name, from 1843 onward, of Isa­bella Baum­free, an Afric­an-Amer­ic­an abol­i­tion­ist and women’s rights act­iv­ist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, New York, but escaped with her infant daugh­ter to free­dom in 1826. Her best-known speech on racial inequal­it­ies, “Ain’t I a Woman?” was delivered extem­por­an­eously in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Con­ven­tion



by Sojourn­er Truth  — Civil Rights Act­iv­ist, Women’s Rights Act­iv­ist (c. 1797–1883)

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 — 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.

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.