Sojourner Truth

In honor of Black History Month, every school day The Cardinal will feature a prominent and historical Black American, living or dead, who has worked toward change, advancement, and/or world peace. Some of them are heroes, and some are unsung heroes, who deserve recognition, and have made a contribution to society.


Amina Naleye, Staff Writer

Sojourner Truth, like Douglass and Tubman, was born into slavery and eventually escaped in 1826 to become an abolitionist, author, women’s rights activist. Truth’s activities were centered on religion.

During the Civil War, she was instrumental in recruiting African-American troops to fight for the Union (northern states) against the Confederacy (southern states). Truth preached abolitionism and equal rights for all after attaining her freedom. She became renowned for delivering a speech at a women’s conference in Ohio in 1851 that included the famous refrain “Ain’t I a Woman?” Truth maintained her crusade into adulthood, gaining a meeting with President Abraham Lincoln and becoming one of the most well-known human rights crusaders in the world.

Truth joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a Massachusetts abolitionist group, in 1844, where she met notable abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and essentially established her career as an equal rights fighter. Truth made a passionate speech advocating equal rights for Black women at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in 1851. Frances Gage, a white abolitionist and the Convention’s president, published an account of Truth’s comments in the National Anti-Slavery Standard twelve years later. Truth asked the rhetorical question “Aint I a Woman?” to highlight the discrimination she faced as a Black woman, according.

I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman’s rights. [sic] I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal. I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now. As for intellect, all I can say is, if a woman have a pint, and a man a quart – why can’t she have her little pint full? You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much, – for we can’t take more than our pint’ll hold. The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you 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 the woman who bore him. Man, where was your part? But the women are coming up blessed be God 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, he is surely between a hawk and a buzzard.

Audiences were captivated by Truth’s speech—and many more she delivered throughout her adult life.