May 29, 1851: Sojourner Truth addresses the Women’s Rights Convention

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about? That man over there says women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere.Sojourner Truth

Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And arn’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 arn’t I 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 arn’t I a woman?

I have borne thirteen children, and seen them most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And aren’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [“Intellect,” whispered someone near.] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negro rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, because Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him…. If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!

And now they are asking to do it, the men better let them.

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