Throughout the month of March, people all over the United States celebrate Women’s History Month. Everyone at Janeane’s World is joining the celebration. Today I am sharing Sojourner Truth’s famous “Ain’t I A Woman” speech. She gave this speech in 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron Ohio. What amazes me most about the poem is how relevant it still is today, more than 150 years after she gave it. In fact, is seems to have grown in relevance rather than lessened in relevance.
Here is my video interpretation of the speech. Check it out then, create a video of your own and share it with me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Sojourner Truth “Ain’t I A Woman” 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.
There is so much to this speech in terms of women’s rights, African-American’s rights, affirmative action, justice, and fairness. I am overwhelmed by her words. The strength of her words and character amaze me. At the same time, her words encourage strength, power, and determination. I enjoy them. I respect them and I want to live them. I want to celebrate that I am a woman. I am powerful and I matter. I am a woman, and that is a great thing to be!