Some Words from Sojourner Truth
Editor's Note: Earlier this month, Google devoted a 'doodle' to Sojourner Truth, a remarkable woman who was born in slavery in upstate New York. You can find an 'as told to' autobiography on internet archive or through the Gutenberg Project. That book is both enlightening and flawed. Enlightening, because I'll bet you didn't know about slavery in the northeastern US, or how badly people treated each other back then. Flawed, because the lady who wrote down this 'as told to' keeps putting in her oar trying to make us feel bad, which is totally unnecessary. Reading about Sojourner Truth will make anybody want to get in that time machine and help her out. Also, punch a few people in the nose.
Instead of an excerpt from this biography, we'll bring you Sojourner Truth's own words. In 1851, she spoke in public to the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. It's a very famous speech, and should be memorised, like the Gettysburg Address. We need to know these things. There are other versions of this speech out there, but this is the one that Sojourner Truth herself authorised the reporter to print.
From The Antislavery Bugle, 21 June 1851, Page 160
Women's Rights Convention.
Ono of the most unique and interesting speeches of tho Convention was mado by Sojourncr Truth, an emancipated slave. It is impossible to to transfer it to paper, or convey any adequate idea of the effect it produced upon the audience. Those only can appreciate it whosaw her powerful form, her whole-souled, earnest gesture, and listened to her strong and truthful tones. she came forward to the platform and addressing the President said withgreat simplicity:
May I say a few wards? Receiving an affirmative answer, she proceeded; I want to say
a few words about this matter. I am a woman's rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work at any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? 1 have heard much about the sexes being equal; I ran carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if 1 can get it. I am as strong us any
man that is now. As for intellect, all I can say is, if womua have a pint and man a quart why
can't she have her little pint full? Yon need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much, for wo can't take more than our pint'll bold. The poor men seem to be all in confusion, and don't know what to do. Why children, if yon have woman's rights give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won't be so much trouble. I can't read, but I can hear. I have heard the bible and have learned that Eve caused man to sin. Well if woman upset the world, do give her a chance to set it right side up again.
The Lady has spoken about Jesus, how he never spurned woman from him, and she was right. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha came to him with faith and love and besought him to raise their brother. And Jesus wept and Lazarus came forth. And how came Jesus into the
world? Through God who created him and woman who bore him. Man, where is your part? But the women are coming up blessed be (Gd and a few of the men are coming up with them. But man is in a tight place, the poor slave is on him, woman is coming on him, and he is surely between a hawk and a buzzard.