Voices of Change (Women Challenge Their Audience)

Assignment 2: Voices of Change (Women Challenge Their Audience)

HUM 112: World Cultures II


My choice was topic 3, Sojourner Truth’s famous 1851 speech. Sojourner Truth was an African American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. She was a former slave that became a candid advocate for abolition temperance and civil and women’s rights in the nineteenth century. Her Civil War work obtained her an invitation to meet President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 (biography.com).

Given the name Isabella at birth, Sojourner Truth was born in the year 1797, in Hurley, New York. She was enslaved for about twenty-eight years of her life. As assets of various slave owners, when she was ten years old, Isabella was sold for $100 and some sheep Dutch was her original language, and it was told, she spoke with a Dutch accent for the remainder of her life. Even though she was unable to read, she knew parts of the Bible by heart. (D. Michalas,2015).

She was also best known for her address on racial differences. “Ain’t I a Woman?”, presented spontaneously in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention (pbs.org). It’s the most quoted version of this famous speech. The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, written by others and published in 1875 second version, is from the Salem, Ohio, Anti-Slavery Bugle, which announced its release on June 21, 1851, one-month after truths presentation. However, both versions rely upon personal accounts by others, and no identified transcript of the speech exists, which is very intriguing to me. 


Isabella became a wandering minister and, in 1843, switched her name to Sojourner Truth. Throughout this period, she became engaged in the growing antislavery movement, and by the 1850s, she remained associated with the woman’s rights movement. At the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention operated in Akron, Ohio, Sojourner Truth delivered what is now known as one of the most critical abolitionists and women’s rights speeches in American history, “Ain’t I a Woman?” She continued to speak out for the rights of African Americans and women during and after the Civil War (loc, 1998).

I feel the Ain’t I a Women? Sojourner Truth wrote at a crucial time. Because, at that time of slavery, women had no rights, we had two things going against us, and being African American as well as a woman was not something you wanted to be at that time. I think she was fed up, how she and other women were being treated. So, she spoke her mind and let it out how she was feeling. I also feel slavery was a big part of Sojourner’s words and why she felt like she can do the same things as a man, because she is a woman.


The main point of me picking this work was because I was curious about the name of the work, Ain’t I a woman? Out of all the other topics, that one took me to a place that I can relate to. I am an African American woman that sometimes may say the same thing to myself. I may say it a little differently, but it has the same significance.

The most important example of Sojourner Truth uses is: 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 plowed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me (S. Truth, 1851).


The author was trying to reach men, white men, slave masters; she proceeded to say to them that she can do what the African American man can do. As a slave, she felt they had boundaries. She was speaking to African American men as well. She was talking to anyone who was a racist and mistreated African Americans.

She was trying to convenience the audience that she can do anything a man can do. She wanted them to know she bare children and can also do what a man can do, dig and plow like a man. She wanted men to understand women can do as much as they can without their help. She wanted men also to know women don’t need help walking over a puddle of mud. She was about women’s rights.


Sojourner Truth words are related now in 2020, women’s rights are human rights. That is to say; women are entitled to all of these rights. Yet almost everywhere around the world, women and girls are nevertheless denied them, often just because of their gender. This is what we as women are fighting for, yes now we can vote and do jobs that were once only for men. But we still have always to go.

African Americans have forever remained relevant to any evaluation of American equality. The civil rights movement considered the triumph of early-twentieth-century forces to overcome black segregation in public. And it was, by any account, a revolution—this delicate economic base, along with continuing, though weakening labor- market discrimination. Equality is crucial for the same consideration since the political activity is how citizens tell the governing elites of their needs and choices and cause them to be responsive.








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