Sojourner Truth

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If women want any rights more than they's got, why don't they just take them, and not be talking about it?
Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

Sojourner Truth (c.1797 – 1883), originally named Isabella Bomefree, then Baumfree, was a black woman who was born into slavery, and later became a prominent author, and social activist.

Sourced[edit]

  • "Jesus loved me! I knew it, - I felt it! Jesus was my Jesus. Jesus would love me always. I didn't dare tell nobody; 't was a great secret. Everything had been got away from me that I ever had; an' I thought that ef I let white folks know about this, maybe they'd get Him away, so I said, 'I'll keep this close. I won't let any one know.'"
    • Olive Gilbert & Sojourner Truth (1878), Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Bondswoman of Olden Time, page 159. (text at sojournertruth.org)
  • "...there came another rush of love through my soul, an' I cried out loud,- 'Lord, Lord, I can love even de white folks!'"
    • Olive Gilbert & Sojourner Truth (1878), Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Bondswoman of Olden Time, page 159.
  • “I am pleading for my people, a poor downtrodden race
    Who dwell in freedom’s boasted land with no abiding place
    I am pleading that my people may have their rights restored,
    For they have long been toiling, and yet had no reward
    They are forced the crops to culture, but not for them they yield,
    Although both late and early, they labor in the field.
    While I bear upon my body, the scores of many a gash,
    I’m pleading for my people who groan beneath the lash.
    I’m pleading for the mothers who gaze in wild despair
    Upon the hated auction block, and see their children there.
    I feel for those in bondage—well may I feel for them.
    I know how fiendish hearts can be that sell their fellow men.
    Yet those oppressors steeped in guilt—I still would have them live;
    For I have learned of Jesus, to suffer and forgive!
    I want no carnal weapons, no machinery of death.
    For I love to not hear the sound of war’s tempestuous breath.
    I do not ask you to engage in death and bloody strife.
    I do not dare insult my God by asking for their life.
    But while your kindest sympathies to foreign lands do roam,
    I ask you to remember your own oppressed at home.
    I plead with you to sympathize with signs and groans and scars,
    And note how base the tyranny beneath the stripes and stars.
    • Olive Gilbert & Sojourner Truth (1878), Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Bondswoman of Olden Time, page 303.
  • Sisters, I ain't clear what you be after. If women want any rights more than they's got, why don't they just take them, and not be talking about it?
    • As quoted in Sojourner Truth : A Self-made Woman (1974) by Victoria Ortiz

Ain't I a Woman? Speech (1851)[edit]

Speech delivered 1851, at the Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio.
  • 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 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?
  • That little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Jesus 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.

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