Sojourner Truth: Ain T I A Woman?

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Sojourner Truth was a renowned black feminist abolitionist in the United States. Truth was born in slavery as Isabella Bomefree but later became a free woman after the enactment of the New York State Emancipation Act of 1827 (Manning and Mullings, 66). She changed her name to Sojourner Truth in 1843 and traveled across the United States to advocate for the abolition of slavery (66). She continued to become an outspoken figure in the abolitionist movement as well as the early women’s rights movement. In May of 1851, Truth addressed the crowed attending a women’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio where it was assumed she uttered the famous phrase “Ain’t I A Woman?” (66). In the speech, Truth unapologetically confronted the injustices she faced as a black woman as she challenged normative ideas of femininity and womanhood. She also addressed the reproductive labour that black women undergo because…show more content…
Despite being the better-known version between the two, the latter is deemed by historian Nell Irvin as fictional (66). Gage’s account assumes an American Southerner’s way of speaking, which is primarily used by black people. This way of speaking is depicted in Gage’s version by dropping syllables and letters from words. The famous repetition of “and ain’t I a woman?” can only be found in the second version as well. Although both versions ultimately utter similar arguments, the second version present intersectional themes in the speech more prominently in comparison to the earlier account. The first published version did not explicitly discuss the gendered division of labour nor did it mention the reproductive labour of black women. Instead, it put more emphasis on offering counterarguments for women to be granted
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