sojourner truth - 9 of 45

1841 saw an increase in attention paid to the fight for equality -- sojourner truth recognized the value of momentum.   

born into slavery in 1797, it took sojourner truth 29 years until she was able to live a life of freedom, but even then, freedom was a relative term.  she was no longer the property of a family, but still a prisoner of her race and gender. she knew that, no matter the circumstances, the prospect of equality was dependent on her willingness to fight.

when she discovered that her son was illegally sold to a family in alabama, sojourner truth launched her first attack -- she took the case to court.  she secured her son's safe return and her place in history as the first black woman to win a court case against a white man.  

sojourner truth viewed abolition and rights for women as a foregone conclusion, but one she needed to usher into being.  this is perhaps one of the reasons she was so successful as she toured the country on speaking tours; she approached the subject of equality with complete conviction.  she greeted unreceptive and unruly audiences by saying "you may hiss as much as you please, but women will get their rights anyway. you can't stop us" -- a message that boomed with the necessary confidence to silence her opponents. she unabashedly ruffled the feathers of many abolitionists by expanding the fight for black rights to not just black men, but also black women.  in her now-famous speech ain't i a woman, she highlights the overlap between the fight for black rights and women's rights:


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?


women were expected to work just as much, just as hard, and be greeted with less in return -- a sentiment which still rings true today.  sojourner truth would have shepherded in an era of american history that would have changed the course for equal treatment.  her opponent for election would have been (slaveholder) william henry harrison, whose platform for equality was nonexistent.  harrison attempted to pass legislation in congress which would have fully legalized slavery.  needless to say, we could have used sojourner truth's voice in the white house.

man is so selfish that he has got women's rights and his own too, and yet he won't give women their rights. he keeps them all to himself.