“… And Ain’t I a Woman?”

“Some women did not welcome her…

In 1851 she attended the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.  As the meeting progressed, men in the audience began to ridicule the women for wanting to be treated as men’s equals.

“Women are weak,” they shouted.  “Weak in body and weak in mind.  Women have to be taken care of by men.”

She looked around.  No one seemed to know what to do.  She set her sun bonnet down and slowly stood up.

“Don’t let her speak” some of the women said loudly.

But the chairwoman introduced her anyway.  She looked around quietly at the scoffing crowd.  Then she pointed to the man who had just spoken.

“That man over there… that man says that women need to be helped into carriages and lifted over ditches and 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?”

She pushed up one sleeve.  “Look at my arm!  I have plowed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could beat 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 a woman?”

Then Sojourner Truth raised her arms toward heaven.  “I have borne five children and seen most all sold off into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard.  And ain’t I a woman?”

Maybe 1851 wasn’t that long ago.  What would Sojourner say at… a True Woman or similar God-designed-women-as-subservient-to-men type event?

From Walking the Road to Freedom: A Story About Sojourner Truth, by Jeri Ferris.

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3 Responses

  1. Sojourner Truth: six feet tall, with a
    voice that stilled the hall and drew all
    attention to her, a ‘presence’ that
    commanded respect and quieted the
    jeers.
    If such women once lived and spoke
    out at a time when there was little
    freedom for women, black or white,
    can we sit quiet today? And if we
    speak out, we stand ‘on their
    shoulders’ and are made taller and
    greater by the ones who came before
    us. Our daughters look to us now.
    There is no turning back. In
    in our past, such women as
    Sojourner Truth knew that the fullness
    of human dignity resides within, and
    that it cannot be ‘given’ or ‘taken away’
    by any man or group of men. That dignity was
    the gift of the Creator in whose Image
    women were created.

  2. There are several women of GOD in the BIBLE who I don’t think would feel at home at some of those conferences.

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