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Aint I a Woman

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By GEDIII
Words 963
Pages 4
Philosophy 360
African American Philosophy
Dr. Felton O. Best
Ain’t I a Woman? By Sojourner truth

For my portion of the group project I decided to focus on and analyze the speech Ain’t I a Woman given by Sojourner Truth. This speech was given by Sojourner Truth at the Women’s Convention in the town of Akron in the state of Ohio in 1851. Sojourner Truth uses both biblical and personal experiences in order to connect with the audience, both men and women. She gives several examples, some of which are rhetorical and others which are straight forward, to get her point across. Throughout the speech she repeatedly asks the crowd “Ain’t I a Woman” as a way to remind them that she is one. Her first point made during the speech which I would like to place a focus on is when she says “Dat man ober dar say dat womin needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted ober ditches, and to hab de best place everywhar. Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles, or gibs me any best place! ……… Ain’t I a Woman. “ I believe that making this statement, Sojourner Truth is insinuating multiple things. The first point being that although men preach about showing chivalry towards women she has yet to be the recipient of such actions. Now some may argue that she might also be making a racial reference as well. Truth is arguably saying that white men don’t treat black women with the same respect as they do white women just because of their skin color and uses the example of them not doing courteous things such as helping her into carriages or helping women of her complexion across mud puddles. For white men to treat black women the same publicly as Sojourner Truth would like probably wasn’t prevalent at the time strictly because of the overall climate of society in the 19th century. She then moves on to a different agenda later on in the speech, shifting the focus from chivalry of men to that of equality of women by making the following statement “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? “. She uses this example of how she had to endure labor as her fellow slave men, as we know slaves fell victim to serious labor regardless of gender. But she doesn’t merely state that men were assigned the same task as women but she claims that she not only got the job done but she outperformed some of the men. She then lightens the mood by pointing out that when food was available she was able to eat just as much as men. She probably not only ate as much as the men but most of the time ate more than them because, as I will get into more detail later in my analysis, she had 13 kids. With this in mind, she normally had to eat for two. She then returns to somber the mood as she mentions that she, along with other women slaves, were subject to the same vicious whippings and beatings that men had to endure. She then alludes to a point which makes women not only seem equal to men, but one might argue, even more essential due to their ability to bring forth life as Sojourner alludes to in the following statement, “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?” She is referring to the fact how during slavery when slaves became mothers how their kids were normally sold off to another plantation and although she might have pleaded with the slave masters she ultimately knew that her cries would only be a futile attempt in keeping her child and Jesus was probably the only person who hear her shouts as she pleaded for her kids to be with their mother. Another point which she makes, in the realm of women being equal if not more important than men, is that of our own Jesus Christ when she says, “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”. This suggests that only a women and God himself was needed in the creating the most significant man to roam our earth. Which would cause anybody who is familiar with the Immaculate Conception to really re-consider how they treat women and how they should, at the very least, have the same rights as men. These were just four of the main critical points which one could take from Sojourner Truth’s speech, Ain’t I a Woman, and elaborate on. She brought about several reasons why women should, at the bare minimum, have the same rights as men. Over a century and a half later from the presentation of this monumental speech I would definitely think that Sojourner truth would be smiling at the progress we have made in society. Who would have that we would have a president, Barack Hussein Obama, with African American roots or a woman, Hilary Rodham Clinton. who is being taken serious as a candidate in this year’s upcoming presidential race? Now although we have definitely made steps in the right direction for gender and racial equality, we mustn’t be content where we have reached, rather continue to work for equality for all.

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