Sojourner Truth

Ain’t I a Woman?
by Sojourner Truth

(As performed by Alice Walker)

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 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 them 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?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [Intellect, someone whispers.] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negro’s 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, ’cause 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.

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 is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.

71 responses to “Sojourner Truth

  1. I really enjoyed this poem because it was powerful. She gave statements, for example the one about god, and there really isn’t a way to argue her point.

  2. I can only imagine how many people’s jaws dropped after hearing or reading this poem for the first time. There is a lot of truth and power in Sojourner Truth’s writing.

  3. Sojourner begins by comparing the two women, the one in the south and the other from the north and how the nothern women is treated by men with more respect. Then she goes on and talks about women rights. A man tells her that women can’t have rights because christ was not a women, in which I totally disagree. The gender of christ has nothing in common with women rights. And Sojourner replies that christ was born from a women. I think she is trying to imply that women are important in this world, which they are. But this probably isn’t the best strategy to get women rights.

  4. I’d imagine that many of the people who had heard of this poem/speech for the first time, their jaws were dropped. If i was there, id be like “Whoa..” she really has a way with words with this poem.

  5. this poem is about much then equality, but the meaning of a woman as a whole. whether its race or gender, a womens place in this world is far more important than the past has showed. it is true that a women has the power to create life and with only the help of god was christ created. women have the power to turn this world upside down, ive seen it first hand. so a woman should be loved and respected and treated in the highest regard. i love women!

  6. It is a logical fallacy to deny women’s right simple because Jesus is a man. On the other hand, simply stating that “Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.” can hardly warrant women’s right either. In other words, women, regardless of ethnic background, should enjoy equal human rights as men do, but this statement alone is a weak argument on fighting for women’s right. After all, human right movement has hardly anything to do with the gender of Jesus.

  7. I wonder how many jaws dropped when Sojourner Truth gave this speech. I mean, what could someone really say back to her. She really hit the nail on the hammer “…then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause 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.” She was witty and knew exactly what she was talking about! There is much truth in her words.

  8. Sojourner has some interesting points. She compares herself to the women that the men mention should receive extra care. She asks why do they get better treatmen than me? Whatt she wants is the women rights that she is deprived from. All other women seem to have them but not herself. She also mentions christ and that he came from a women and that women are now claiming their rights and that men should allow them to have their rights.

  9. This is the first time I ever heard this poem. It is extremely powerful and It was great to hear a poem from that era. This poem shows the beginning of women’s struggle to receive rights and equality. Even though it is still carried in today’s society , we as human beings need to change and encourage others to stop women’s negative perception, and other issues such as racism.

  10. This poem is so simple but holds so much power. I couldn’t help but smile during the whole thing. It’s poems like these that make me proud to be a woman. Women are no less than men, if anything, women do more than men do to keep things together. Woman can be just as strong, smart, and hard working as men. There is no greater value between the two. I loved this poem. It is bold and speaks so much truth.

  11. I wrote one of my essays on this poem. women till this very day are still being mistreated. Domestically economically educationally and politically women are being treated less then what they are all over the world. whats crazy to me is without a woman there would be no life, with that being sad this world is nothing without women.

  12. this is a good poem, women are constantly being looked down upon no matter what they do, but women are so strong and admirable for everything they’ve gone through and still have the ability to pull forward.

  13. Still very true today! Women have came a long way, but still to tis day. Society, movies and even public figures still down upon women. The lyrics in today’s music for example down grade a woman but celebrate the male figure. This poem was well recited, as well.

  14. I never knew her real name was Isabella Baumfree. I loved this poem! Everything she claimed was so true, Defiantly my choice for poem essay.

  15. This poem is bittersweet to me because as long ago as it was written, it could be recited today and still ring true. Maybe now the circumstances have changed, women aren’t physically being whipped for not picking enough cotton, but we are being whipped by the hands of those we love for our short comings or otherwise. We’re still fighting for equality in the workplace, and when we get it, we are no longer women but bitches or bulldogs. The double standard hasn’t died and may never. Sojourner may have been one of the first to speak, but certainly not the last, and its longer overdue that we can still have this same argument in 2014.

  16. The thing I love most about this poem by Sojourner Truth is that she is fighting against two major stereotypes just by being herself. You can tell from the writing that she wasn’t trying to be someone she was not. She used the language she was comfortable with and she even added an element of imperfection when she could not recall the word “intellect.” Her wit was subtle and powerful. Sojourner had a naturally occurring passion for equality and gift for persuasive speaking.

  17. Sojurner is one of my favorite poets.I really admire Sojurner Truth’s ability to tie real life experiences into her poetry. This poem is about equality among men and women but, I also think this poem is more of a wake up call to women to be strong and independent.

  18. I think this poem goes beyond equality of race or gender,think shes trying to say that we are all the same . We can all acomplish the same goals no matter where you started. If Ms.Truth starting a slave raising thirteen children only to see them taken from her, could start a womens suffrage movement, What is holding all of us back ?

  19. This poem has a very well developed argument. To make the excuse that men having to care for women and give them special treatment should be a reason to reduce their wage isn’t quite gentlemanly. If it was really our duty as men to spoil and treat women as if they cannot handle things on their own, why should we take away from their earned rewards when they prove that they can? If the double standards of society really are an issue to gender equality, we should work to abolish the notion that men should offer the world to women, and stop making exceptions to wanting to be an individual when some “joe-schmo” offers you a drink at the bar.

  20. I like how she tied the woman part to the very beginning part of the world. That Eve was responsible for sin by herself and that women can turn the world over again. They have all the skills and strengths men have but they always like to view themselves as superior. The view of the different genders needs to change.

  21. I get the poem about what its trying to say about women rights and what not and I truly feel that women should have the same rights as men; I truly do, But when i listen to some arguments what they are trying to make I think they get a little nitpicky. Equal pay and yet the guy still has to pay for the movie when we go on a date. If the titanic sinks women and children on on the boats and I have to go down with the ship. We earn that extra 1.50 an hour because of that.

    For Example, There is a bank robbery. 99% of the time the officers will ask to please let the women and children go…well…what about me! why do I have to stay in the vault?

    I’m quoting Bill Burr mostly

  22. I really did not know much about Sojourner Truth, however after some research I found out that she was a very fearless and brave women. No one after her fought so viciously to gain more power to the women. Sojourner Truth set forth the fight for equality of women no matter their race. She is a very inspiring women.

  23. I did my research paper on Sojourner Truth for my English 1a class.
    I found many great things about this woman and the life she lived.
    This poem should’ve been titled “Aint I superwoman”
    Truthfully she was an extraordinary woman and she made well with what she had, which wasn’t very much.
    This is a powerful poem to me it shows that a woman can be anything she sets her mind to and she can do anything man can do.
    As delicate as society makes women seem we are stronger than we know, but we must believe it first.

  24. Many could say that this poem is no longer accurate for today’s world. I highly beg to differ. It is no longer just men demeaning women now it is women demeaning women.. Not too long ago I was in a T-mobile store and I asked one of the workers why there was so many male employers yet not one female employer insight. The male employer kindly answered that his FEMALE boss does not like to higher women because they can get pregnant, are emotional, boyfriend problems, and she rather work with men. Women use to protest together to have equal rights are men. Now women are so busy tearing each other apart that they do not realize how much power they have let men have over them once again.

  25. I get where the author was coming from when writing this piece. However, I think that over the years, the possibilities of this poem’s message have increased. We now live in a world full of visuals and marketing. “The objectification of women” is a phrase that has been thrown around so much recently. Women of all races have faced inequality. I think the big difference now is not in race (though race is still a huge factor) but in attractiveness. Society feels it is fair to judge a female’s looks. Sojourner feels one’s status as a woman should not be based on the color of her skin. I agree, but I add that women should not be judged on the size of their body, the color of their dresses, or the texture of their hair. No human should be categorized on how they look or where they’re from.

  26. Strength, courage, fearless, and very inspirational. Sojourner educated herself and stayed strong. Just as much as men have. She is a true woman.

  27. Historical great indeed… There is something to be said about a woman who had so many children and still stayed so very strong. The message to me represents how black woman had to be strong no matter what, and at the end of the day no matter what your status was, you should still be considered a woman. A woman indeed, is why so many of us, of all races are able to be who we are today. I will take this message with me and pass this as though this woman is hear with (us) today. Question, would things be better if woman were treated better. Equality is everything, one can not succeed if there is no equality, especially woman.

  28. I am glad that discrimination has decreased in the country. Just because someone is of a different color does not mean that they should be treated any different. The same goes for sex. I really hope that one day there could be equality.

  29. This poem is explaining that women are equal to men , it refers back to the days when slavery still exist , this women went through the and things that black men went through as well. It explains that wine too have strength , and that they can get through pain as well.

  30. “Aint I a woman?” by Sojourner Truth
    Women have been the real workers behind curtains, while men go step up in front of the curtains stating that they were the one representing and working the hardest. This gets to the bottom of my heart. I grew up in a sexist society where women are taught to obey and submit to every will of man because they are men “they know better”. I can relate to Truth and her intolerance of being belittled by men. Unlike many other women Truth’s bold words carry strength and inspiration. She is also fearless when she expresses that the world could not harm her. Truth’s words of feminist power go beyond societies standards because she knows that she does not have any impact in government; however, she does not give up no matter the harm government, society or individuals can do to her. My favorite part of this poem is when she states that religion or faith gets in the way of oppressing women. She gives a rational reason that Jesus had a God as a father and a woman as mother. If it was not for that woman where could have Jesus come from? Sojourner Truth was a fearless, bold and powerful woman that literally fought for her believes. I believe every girl should we taught to investigate and fight with intelligence for justice just like Sojourner Truth.

  31. This is a very empowering poem, I remember hearing it in class and thinking how great it was. Sojourner is the type of woman who doesn’t just speak about the problem but actually tries to do something about it. She realized that men and women are alike and women can do anything men can do. She could” work as much, eat as much and even bear the lash as well.” Women are powerful creatures and should really not be underestimated, but our society does everything to put them down.

  32. She is a very strong woman who endure so much pain and suffer in her life. In her poem, i believe that men and women are created equal. When i read the news today, women in the same work experienced, profession, and work the same hours as men still get paid less than men. That is not equality. It also the same thing for women in the military. Women get promote faster than men do through meritorious promotion.

  33. This Women is the true meaning of strength. For her to rise after all those years of slavery and all that she had lost during that time is no small feat. Most people, men and women, would have given up or at least settled for freedom for themselves, but this woman decided that she was going to fight so that all may be free and free from what she had suffered. She is truly a remarkable woman.

  34. Sojourner Truth was a pioneer for the women’s rights movement. She was born into slavery and was sold three times, her children were also sold into slavery. She fought for gender equality and for what she believed in. After she became a free woman she fought for her five year old son that was sold into slavery. Against all odds she was the first woman to take a white man to court and win! Her speech “Ain’t I a woman?” is so powerful and talks about how women have just as same right as men, to work, to earn a living, that men aren’t superior to women, and that women have the same intellect. Sojourner Truth should be an inspiration to women everywhere, of all races. Today, women make up more than half of the workforce, but yet we are still paid less than men in the workplace. Women earn 77 cents to every man’s dollar! And Truth’s speech tells women to fight for what we believe in, to fight for equality. This speech is for women EVERYWHERE.

  35. Sojourner a woman with a vision, much like Martin Luther was born way before her time. She realized that women had the ability to be like a man. she had tunnel vision about earning women more rights and she was stopping at nothing. a strong independent woman that we all should appreciate in todays society.

  36. I like how she stressed the idea of female unity in order to get things done. She recognized that women, like men, have skills and strength of their own, and although she was black, she was still a strong woman, just as important as any one in the north. I like her name, too. On a mission!

  37. Not only is Sojourner Truth asking for the same rights as men, but she gives great examples of why she deserves them, one of them being that there wouldn’t be no God without a woman. She also points out the problem of racism and how men call themselves gentlemen, however, they don’t give the same respect they would give to a white female. Overall, it could be that men have some kind of fear that if they gave women just a little bit of power that they have any control over them.

  38. One would think this poem would have very little relevance today considering it was written in 1851, and in a world so distant and different from the one we live in today. Wrong! Because even in todays world, sexism and racism is still very much alive. I person is still sometimes judged on the color of their skin, and women are still living in a world that is male dominant in almost every aspect. Such an amazing and timeless poem!

  39. I think it was amazing for Sojourner Truth to stand up for herself. She really made it a point and gave strong reasons as to why she should have the same rights as others. Her actions and words are inspiring because of the difference she made by standing up for herself and others.

  40. First of all, I think it was sad how she was sold three times. I never will understand how people could sell or buy another human being. On a brighter note, I found her speech very moving and charasmatic. The logic and wording she used made it very persuading.

  41. I believe Sojourner Truth is an example of what makes this country great. People are not perfect and there will always be injustice in the world, but we live in a country where strong women and men may stand up for their rights. I am amazed at the strength and fortitude of this woman and I am grateful to be part of a better country she helped to create.

  42. Soujurner Truth was truly a pioneer that I wish would be discussed more in the classroom. This woman in my eyes embodied abolitionist and feminism in one poem alone, intertwined, very beautiful. For someone that has endured the having all her children sold to the highest bidder, to speak at a time where death was a reality for someone to speak out such as she did. I also had no idea that she was connected to Fredrick Douglass. His autobiography is a great read!

    Emotional indeed…

  43. I like this! She has so much power and passion through out these words that are written. I am glad that she knew what was right and wrong, having the ability to think for herself and not taking in what society (at her time) was a norm. This woman had the courage to express what was on her mind and spoke like a real woman!

  44. Great and interesting story I feel that she was kind of in Harriet Tubmans shadow.

  45. Sojourner Truth was such a strong person. She stood up for what she believed in and wasn’t afraid of what others would think of her. Truth against all odds got her message across.

  46. very powerful message!

  47. I love Sojourner Truth. She has always been one of my favorite historical figures and it bothers me that we do not learn about her as children in social studies class. She’s one of the most interesting and influential historical figures in my opinion. Definitely inspiring. 🙂

  48. Sojourner Truth was an advocate for women all across the world. She grew up in the time of slavery, and women wasn’t given the equal rights as men. She States that she is a women, but she can take the good and bad tor having the equal rights as men. Love her poem. It touched home for me.

  49. A real eye opener. Women were really treated terrible and with now respect. She spoke the truth and nothing but the truth. Very influential woman in history.

  50. this poem uses such great words throughout that she makes us not only believe everything that she says but truely feel it.

  51. This is a beautiful poem it has a strong content, anyways, the part that I like the most are the following words, “Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him”. This is a big statement!

  52. It is really crazy to know how far back and for how long women have struggled to have the same rights as men.

  53. Sojurner Truth is a great inspiration to everybody to fight for what you believe in. You cant get your point across unless your not afraid to stand up and speak your mind.

  54. great speech, truly speaking her mind for change and showing us as people that everyone should be the same man or women should not matter as long as everyone is treated right.

  55. I remember reading about Sojurner Truth in English 1A and I feel that she isn’t talked about enough in history and what she did for equality.

  56. I love this speech because although Truth was speaking on women suffrage, this speech could pertain to anyone/group that has ben discriminated upon. My favorite part of the open is when Truth question her audience: “Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.” This just further drives home her point that woman are just as much apart of this society as women are.

  57. This is truly a inspirational poem. Ain’t I a women? It makes me feel proud to be a women, there are so many strong women out there. Sojourner Truth was extra strong because she was also going through slavery, she is very inspirational to fight for equality.

  58. I love this poem so much it makes me want to stand on a table and scream at the top of my lungs “Ain’t I a Woman”.

  59. I remember reading this story in my earlier education however it was good to read it again. It is such an inspiring piece. The courage she had to have to be able to think that way, say such things, and educate herself back in those days is incredible. I particularly liked the part about Jesus it made me laugh, it came across like a stand up comedy act.

  60. Truly inspiring. I love watching videos or reading about stories as such that inspire me to become a better person! very strong woman!!!!!

  61. While many abolitionists focused to end slavery in the United States during the 19 century, women’s rights were ignored and most civil rights activists did little or nothing to change the situation. The story of Sojourner Truth is an interesting story because she was an African American women that live though the wortst times in African American history, and yet she was one of the first activists for women rights.

  62. I remember the name Sojurner Truth, from earlier education but with more knowledge of her I see that she is someone very inspiring to me and others. She even changed her named from Isabella Baumfree to Sojurner Truth which means “traveler” and “real or genuwine” . She knew that equality was of righteous and strived for what she believed and helped others with good intent.

  63. I have never heard of Sojourner Truth before this assignment. I am glad to learn about her now. Sojourner Truth helped woman realize that they deserve the same rights as men. Also, she made men realize they were no better then women. She also taught me to never give up and fight for what you believe is right.

  64. Sojourner Truth was a suprise to te world. Beggining as a slave who was sold from family to family. Sojourner larter became one of the first women activist to fight for not only equality for women but also for colored. SOjourner opened the door to end slavery and realize that equality lives amoungst everyone

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  67. First time hearing about Sojurner Truth. She accomplished so much by experiencing slavery. Though she still stood up for women rights. It is geat what she achieved.

  68. I had no idea who Sojurner Truth was before this video. I feel so better now that i am informed for an amazing women who fought and paid the way for me. Its amazing how strong some people are.

  69. So Sojourner Truth was the first domino, so to speak, to set into motion of other women to fight for equality among women. Interesting.

  70. This was very intersting i have never heard of Sojurner Truth and what she had really done. She was the person that set forth that mean and women were created equal no man was greater then she was. Even thou she was goin through salvery she new there had to be something done with the equal rights of a man and a women. God was not created without a man and a woman there were both to create him.

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