International Women's Day 8 March 2016: Ain’t I a woman? Speech by Sojourner Truth

In anticipation of International Women's Day on 8 March 2016, we share this speech by Sojourner Truth, given in 1852, Ohio to one of the founding meetings of women demanding the vote in the United States - at that time, all white and middle class women. Sojourner Truth was herself an ex-slave, who became a leader in the anti-slavery movement as well as for the emancipation of women.

Ain’t I a woman?

That man over there say

A woman needs to be helped into carriages

And lifted over ditches

And to have the best place everywhere.

Nobody ever helped me into carriages

Or over mud puddles

Or gives me a best place. . . .

And ain’t I a woman?

Look a me

Look at my arm!

I have plowed 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 to it –

And bear the lash as well

And ain’t I a woman?

I have born 13 children

And seen most all sold into slavery

And when I cried out a mother’s grief

None but Jesus heard me . . .

And ain’t I a woman?

That little man in black there say

A woman can’t have as much rights as a man

Cause 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

Together women ought to be able to turn it

Rightside up again.

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