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 five 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?.
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Ain’t I a woman? one of the most infamous speeches given by a determined, intellectual, and beautiful woman named Sojourner Truth. Truth had many barriers that she took a stand against, that could’ve destroyed her, but she used them as motivation to give slaves, women, and all society a chance at equality. Truth was a comfortable speaker who gave women, slaves and former slaves courage to pursue freedom and their rights as human beings for equality. Sojourner wasn’t always her name. She was a former slave who was beaten, abused and mistreated. She worked all hours and didn’t have days off. Until, she took a stand for herself and her child. This led to one of the first ever cases of illegal slave selling of Truth’s child won by an African American woman against a white man. She is one that should be in all history books. She took a stand for what should’ve been right and helped lead the movement of abolishing slavery, racial inequality and the womens rights movement.
As being born into a slavery, she was given the name Isabella Baumfree around 1797, speaking only Dutch to the Hardenbergh family in Ulster County, New York. Essentially, Isabella was born a piece of property and never was anything more until she was free. She was one of 10 or 12 children (records weren’t correct in which) to also slaves, which she was the only child with left with her parents. This made her parents depressed and it was said that her childhood her mother would reminisce over the other children and tell her they all look at the same stars to keep Belle strong. At the age of 9, Isabella was sold when Colonel Hardenbergh passed away to John Neely with a flock of sheep for $100. Sojourner never talked much about just how harsh her time being a slave was, but Neely wasn’t very kind to her she spoke how she would be beaten daily and once even with a bundle of rods,
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