Sojourner Truth


I sit here listening to the live broadcast of the Women’s March on Washington.  I am reminded of the first time I realized I needed to quit thinking like a woman all of the time.  Now that is not to say that I do not still think like a woman (because we do think differently about certain things), but I try to think like a “reasonable person” should.  Bet this is not what you were expecting when you saw I had made a new post.  I promise this is not a rant about any particular political party or a venue to male-bash.  Just a thought I needed to get down for me.  So either move along or read on.  😀

Many years ago, I fell in love with a stranger because of her name.  Sojourner Truth. The name struck me, so off to books and the internet I went. I have a tendency to read everything I can about a subject, which can sometimes be difficult for people who are waiting on me to make a decision about something 😉 Anyway, I actually even studied her a bit when I was taking a class while working toward my Paralegal Degree.

If you do not know who she is, and do not want to take the time to look it up, here is a quick synopsis (some info I pulled from Wiki because I could not remember any date except when she was freed and when she made the speech).

She was born a slave in New York. When she was freed in 1827, she became an anti-slavery speaker. In 1851 she gave a speech at the Women’s Convention being held in Ohio.  Several versions of her speech have been published, the most popular by Matilda Gage.  I have read several versions, but below is the speech, published in the Anti-Slavery Bugle by Marius Robinson, who transcribed the recordings he made at the Convention:

I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman’s rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal. I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now. As for intellect, all I can say is, if a woman have a pint, and a man a quart – why can’t she have her little pint full? You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much, – for we can’t take more than our pint’ll hold. The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble. I can’t read, but I can hear. I have heard the bible and have learned that Eve caused man to sin. Well, if woman upset the world, do give her a chance to set it right side up again. The Lady has spoken about Jesus, how he never spurned woman from him, and she was right. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha came to him with faith and love and besought him to raise their brother. And Jesus wept and Lazarus came forth. And how came Jesus into the world? Through God who created him and the woman who bore him. Man, where was your part? But the women are coming up blessed be God and a few of the men are coming up with them. But man is in a tight place, the poor slave is on him, woman is coming on him, he is surely between a hawk and a buzzard.

More than a decade later Matilda Gage published her version (link to Wikipedia if you want to read the whole version) and in this version are the words “Ain’t I a Woman.”  I actually find Gage’s version a bit offensive, mostly because she described it as given in a southern dialect, and Miss Truth was a northerner.

Where am I going with this?  When I first started looking into Sojourner Truth, I found a cross-stitch pattern about her.  Now, I cannot find it anymore.  I like to think that I bought it and lost it, but I cannot even find anything online anymore, so am hoping someone reading this knows what sampler I am talking about and can point me in that direction.

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