Month: May 2021

Sojourner Truth delivers powerful speech on African American women's rights

At the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention, on May 29, 1851, the formerly enslaved woman, Sojourner Truth, rises to speak and assert her right to equality as a woman, as well as a Black American. The exact wording of her speech, which becomes famous for the refrain, “Ain’t I a Woman?” has been lost to history. In fact, historians have since challenged whether Truth ever used the famous refrain as she spoke. Nonetheless, her speech becomes widely regarded as one of the most powerful moments of the early women’s liberation movement. Born into slavery in Ulster County, New York, Isabella Baumfree escaped with her infant daughter in 1826 and chose the name Sojourner Truth. She later successfully sued a slaveowner for custody of her son, becoming the first Black woman to take a white man to court and win. She remained an antislavery activist and, after the Civil War, a crusader for the rights of African Americans for the rest of her life. Her speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention formed much of the foundation of her legacy. LISTEN: Sojourner’s Truth on HISTORY This Week Podcast There are two conflicting versions of the speech, neither of which was transcribed at the time Truth actually gave it. An account reported in the Anti-Slavery Bugle was the first to be published and does not actually include the titular phrase. On May 2, 1863,...

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