Women’s History Month: Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” Speech

portrait of Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth worked against slavery and for women’s rights.

The Women’s Rights Convention took place in Akron, Ohio in 1851. It was part of a growing movement for Women’s Rights. It would also be the site of one of the most famous speeches in American History.

Sojourner Truth travelled the country to promote the cause of abolition [ending slavery]. She was once an enslaved person herself. She met people working for Women’s Rights. She supported that cause too. She attended the convention and gave a speech. It connected both causes. The speech called for equality between people of different races and between men and women.

People remember the speech in different ways. In the most famous way, Truth talks about all the ways she has been mistreated as an African American. She talks about the ways she is just as strong as a man. After each instance she asks, “Ain’t I a woman?” That is why it is known as the “Ain’t I a Woman” speech.

Both reports on the speech say it was a unique and powerful speech. Truth demanded respect, both as an African American and as a woman.

What Do You Think? If you had the chance to give a speech that would be remembered, what would you say?

Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [LC-USZ62-119343]