Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I A Woman? Tribute to Women’s History Month

That man over there say
a woman needs to be helped into carriages
and lifted over ditches
and to have the best place everywhere.
Nobody ever helped me into carriages
or over mud puddle
or gives me a best place…

And ain’t I a woman?

Look at me
Look at my arm!
I have plowed 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 to it—
and bear the lash as well…

And ain’t I a woman?

I have born 13 children
and seen most all sold into slavery
and when I cried out a mother’s grief
none but Jesus heard me…

And ain’t I a woman?

That little man in black there say
a woman can’t have as much rights as a man
cause Christ wasn’t a woman
Where did your Christ come from?
From God and a woman!
Man had nothing to do with him!

If the first woman God ever made
was strong enough to turn the world upside down, all alone
together women ought to be able to turn it rightside up again

“I sell the shadow to support the substance.” — Sojourner Truth. Carte de Visite, circa 1864, in the collections of the Library of Congress (

After-word: Sadje asks, what makes me feel stronger?! Answer—the strength of trailblazer women who’ve navigated the path to make my sojourn through this world a bit easier. This speech (put in poetic form above) was part of my introduction to women’s study in university and it left an indelible mark on me and influenced my career choice. I now work to defend women’s rights and advance gender equality. It’s only fitting then that Sojourner’s speech is my first post in tribute to Women’s History Month and also for Sadje’s Sunday Poser #70.

Sojourner Truth (name she chose instead of the slave name Isabella Baumfree), born into slavery in 1797, delivered this speech at the Women’s Rights Convention (Old Stone Church in Akron, Ohio.) Version of Speech as printed in Anti-Slavery Bugle, June 21 1851.

It was adapted to the poetic format above by Erelene Stetson from copy of the speech found in Sojourner, God’s Faithful Pilgrim by Arthur Huff Fauset, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1938).

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In creative solidarity, Dee

24 thoughts on “Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I A Woman? Tribute to Women’s History Month

  1. i would like to have a word with the author/poet about this work please. My name is Anthony based out of India & am a writer myself. – appamprawns is my blog. Please let me know how do i get in touch in regards with this particular article that i would like to reproduce in parts for a long form article. my email is

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an amazing tribute to a super powerful woman. I first read this piece in grad school, women, gender, and sexuality studies, and it had the same effect then as it does on me today. Misty-eyed, and in awe of the power and profundity of this verse. Thank you so much for sharing, Dee! You are AMAZING!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jeff. Great to know we had similar university studies. Talk about speaking truth to power, Sojourner embodied that! She was also a heart-speaker!! And thanks for your kind affirmation. Cheers

      Liked by 1 person

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