Great Speeches by American Women (Dover Thrift Editions)

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There were, in its four-and-a-half year history, a total of members, though no more than at any one time. In , the group disbanded, unable to support itself. In , she visited John Dumont before he moved west. In , with proceeds from sales of the narrative and cartes-de-visite captioned, "I sell the shadow to support the substance," she paid off the mortgage held by her friend from the community, Samuel L.

In , Truth joined George Thompson , an abolitionist and speaker, on a lecture tour through central and western New York State. Her speech demanded equal human rights for all women as well as for all blacks. Advocating for women and African Americans was dangerous and challenging enough, but being one and doing so was far more difficult.

The pressures and severity of her speech did not get to Truth, however. Truth took to the stage with a demanding and composed presence. Audience members were baffled by the way she carried herself and were hesitant to believe that she was even a woman, prompting the name of her speech "Ain't I a Woman?

Different versions of Truth's words have been recorded, with the first one published a month later in the Anti-Slavery Bugle by Rev. Marius Robinson, the newspaper owner and editor who was in the audience. Twelve years later, in May , Gage published another, very different, version. In it, Truth's speech pattern had characteristics of Southern slaves, and the speech was vastly different than the one Robinson had reported. Gage's version of the speech became the historic standard version, and is known as "Ain't I a Woman?

In contrast to Robinson's report, Gage's version included Truth saying her 13 children were sold away from her into slavery. Truth is widely believed to have had five children, with one sold away, and was never known to boast more children. According to Frances Gage's recount in , Truth argued, "That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. And ain't I a woman? Over the next 10 years, Truth spoke before dozens, perhaps hundreds, of audiences. From to , Truth worked with Marius Robinson, the editor of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Bugle , and traveled around that state speaking.

In , someone interrupted a speech and accused her of being a man; Truth opened her blouse and revealed her breasts. Northampton Camp Meeting — , Northampton, Massachusetts: At a camp meeting where she was participating as an itinerant preacher, a band of "wild young men" disrupted the camp meeting, refused to leave, and threatened to burn down the tents. Truth caught the sense of fear pervading the worshipers and hid behind a trunk in her tent, thinking that since she was the only black person present, the mob would attack her first. However, she reasoned with herself and resolved to do something: as the noise of the mob increased and a female preacher was "trembling on the preachers' stand," Truth went to a small hill and began to sing "in her most fervid manner, with all the strength of her most powerful voice, the hymn on the resurrection of Christ.

They urged her to sing, preach, and pray for their entertainment. After singing songs and preaching for about an hour, Truth bargained with them to leave after one final song. The mob agreed and left the camp meeting. Abolitionist Convention — s, Boston, Massachusetts: William Lloyd Garrison invited Sojourner Truth to give a speech at an annual antislavery convention. Wendell Phillips was supposed to speak after her, which made her nervous since he was known as such a good orator. Mob Convention — September 7, At the convention, young men greeted her with "a perfect storm," hissing and groaning.

In response, Truth said, "You may hiss as much as you please, but women will get their rights anyway. You can't stop us, neither". In her speech, Sojourner speaks out for women's rights. She incorporates religious references in her speech, particularly the story of Esther.

She then goes on to say that, just as women in scripture, women today are fighting for their rights. Moreover, Sojourner scolds the crowd for all their hissing and rude behavior, reminding them that God says to "Honor thy father and thy mother. Sojourner was received with loud cheers instead of hisses, now that she had a better-formed reputation established. The Call had advertised her name as one of the main convention speakers.

Sojourner argued that because the push for equal rights had led to black men winning new rights, now was the best time to give black women the rights they deserve too. Throughout her speech she kept stressing that "we should keep things going while things are stirring" and fears that once the fight for colored rights settles down, it would take a long time to warm people back up to the idea of colored women's having equal rights. In the second sessions of Sojourner's speech, she utilized a story from the Bible to help strengthen her argument for equal rights for women.

She ended her argument by accusing men of being self-centered, saying, "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.

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Sojourner told her audience that she owned her own house, as did other women, and must therefore pay taxes. Nevertheless, they were still unable to vote because they were women. Black women who were enslaved were made to do hard manual work, such as building roads. Sojourner argues that if these women were able to perform such tasks, then they should be allowed to vote because surely voting is easier than building roads.

Every available space of sitting and standing room was crowded". Sojourner recounts how her mother told her to pray to God that she may have good masters and mistresses. She goes on to retell how her masters were not good to her, about how she was whipped for not understanding English, and how she would question God why he had not made her masters be good to her.

Sojourner admits to the audience that she had once hated white people, but she says once she met her final master, Jesus, she was filled with love for everyone. Once enslaved folks were emancipated, she tells the crowd she knew her prayers had been answered. That last part of Sojourner's speech brings in her main focus.

Some freed enslaved people were living on government aid at that time, paid for by taxpayers.


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Sojourner announces that this is not any better for those colored people than it is for the members of her audience. She then proposes that black people are given their own land. Because a portion of the South's population contained rebels that were unhappy with the abolishment of slavery, that region of the United States was not well suited for colored people.

She goes on to suggest that colored people be given land out west to build homes and prosper on. Second Annual Convention of the American Woman Suffrage Association — Boston, In a brief speech, Truth argued that women's rights were essential, not only to their own well-being, but "for the benefit of the whole creation, not only the women, but all the men on the face of the earth, for they were the mother of them. In , Truth bought a neighboring lot in Northampton, but she did not keep the new property for long.

On September 3, , she sold all her possessions, new and old, to Daniel Ives and moved to Battle Creek, Michigan , where she rejoined former members of the Millerite movement who had formed the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Antislavery movements had begun early in Michigan and Ohio. Here, she also joined the nucleus of the Michigan abolitionists, the Progressive Friends, some who she had already met at national conventions.

Her grandson, James Caldwell, enlisted in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. In October of that year, she met President Abraham Lincoln. Truth is credited with writing a song, " The Valiant Soldiers ", for the 1st Michigan Colored Regiment ; it was said to be composed during the war and sung by her in Detroit and Washington, D.

In , Truth moved from Harmonia to Battle Creek. In , she traveled to western New York and visited with Amy Post , and continued traveling all over the East Coast. At a speaking engagement in Florence, Massachusetts , after she had just returned from a very tiring trip, when Truth was called upon to speak she stood up and said "Children, I have come here like the rest of you, to hear what I have to say. In , Truth tried to secure land grants from the federal government to former enslaved people, a project she pursued for seven years without success. While in Washington, D.

Grant in the White House.

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In , she returned to Battle Creek, became active in Grant's presidential re-election campaign, and even tried to vote on Election Day, but was turned away at the polling place. Truth spoke about abolition, women's rights, prison reform, and preached to the Michigan Legislature against capital punishment. White , and Susan B. Several days before Sojourner Truth died, a reporter came from the Grand Rapids Eagle to interview her.

Her eyes were very bright and mind alert although it was difficult for her to talk. Some of the prominent citizens of Battle Creek acted as pall-bearers. Truth was buried in the city's Oak Hill Cemetery. A larger-than-life sculpture of Sojourner Truth [34] by Tina Allen was dedicated in , which is the estimated bicentennial of Sojourner's birth, in Battle Creek's Monument Park.

The foot tall Sojourner monument is cast bronze. The U. On September 19, , the U. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sojourner Truth. Swartekill, New York , United States. Battle Creek, Michigan , United States. By country or region. Opposition and resistance. Abolitionism U. Main article: Ain't I a Woman? This section needs additional citations for verification.

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Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. The Smithsonian. November 17, Retrieved September 14, Terry Barbour Publishing, Inc. Sojourner Truth Institute site. Retrieved December 28, Women in History Ohio. February 27, Retrieved March 10, Retrieved March 6, Sojourner Truth's America.

Urbana: Illinois. Retrieved September 18, Encyclopedia of World Biography.

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Advameg, Inc. New York, NY: W. Narrative of Sojourner Truth. Enduring Truths: Sojourner's Shadows and Substance.


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    Great Speeches by American Women (Dover Thrift Editions)

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