Sojourner Truth quotes

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Sojourner Truth

Birthdate: 1797
Date of death: 26. November 1883

Sojourner Truth was an African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son in 1828, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man.

She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843 after she became convinced that God had called her to leave the city and go into the countryside "testifying the hope that was in her". Her best-known speech was delivered extemporaneously, in 1851, at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. The speech became widely known during the Civil War by the title "Ain't I a Woman?," a variation of the original speech re-written by someone else using a stereotypical Southern dialect, whereas Sojourner Truth was from New York and grew up speaking Dutch as her first language. During the Civil War, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army; after the war, she tried unsuccessfully to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves .

In 2014, Truth was included in Smithsonian magazine's list of the "100 Most Significant Americans of All Time".

„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?“

—  Sojourner Truth

Ain't I a Woman? Speech (1851)
Context: 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?

„Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.“

—  Sojourner Truth

Ain't I a Woman? Speech (1851)
Context: That little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Jesus 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.

„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?“

—  Sojourner Truth

Ain't I a Woman? Speech (1851)
Context: 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?

„But then there came another rush of love through my soul, an' I cried out loud,- 'Lord, Lord, I can love even de white folks!“

—  Sojourner Truth

Olive Gilbert & Sojourner Truth (1878), Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Bondswoman of Olden Time, page 159.

„That little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Jesus Christ wasn't a woman!“

—  Sojourner Truth

Ain't I a Woman? Speech (1851)
Context: That little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Jesus 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.

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„If women want rights more than they got, why don't they just take them, and not be talking about it.“

—  Sojourner Truth

As quoted in Sojourner Truth : A Self-made Woman (1974) by Victoria Ortiz
Variant: Sisters, I ain't clear what you be after. If women want any rights more than they's got, why don't they just take them, and not be talking about it?

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