Remembering Sojourner Truth today…

25 11 2006

Ain’t I a Woman? delivered at the Women’s rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1852 by Sojourner Truth:

That man over there say
a woman needs to be helped into carriages
and lifted over ditches
and to have the best place everywhere.
Nobody ever helped me into carriages
or over mud puddles
or gives me a best place. . .

And ain’t I a woman?
Look at me
Look at my arm!
I have plowed 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 to it–
and bear the lash as well
and ain’t I a woman?
I have born 13 children
and seen most all sold into slavery
and when I cried out a mother’s grief
none but Jesus heard me. . .
and ain’t I a woman?
that little man in black there say
a woman can’t have as much rights as a man
cause Christ wasn’t a woman
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
together women ought to be able to turn it
rightside up again.

(The following is quoted from an editor’s note in the anthology where this poem is found) “There is no exact copy of this speech given at the Women’s rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1852. The speech is adapted to the poetic format by Erelene Stetson from the copy found in Sojurner, God’s Faithful Pilgrim by Arthur Huff Fauset, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1938).”

The poem and note, along with other great women’s poems, can be found in Ain’t I a Woman: A Book of Women’s Poetry from Around The World, Illona Linthwaite, Editor. New York: Wing Books, 1993, page 129.

Sojourner Truth

 

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