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Womens Suffrage In Sojourner Truths History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

It’s ironic how Sojourner Truth, an African American woman, was fighting for women’s rights that would have only been accurate for white women. Sojourner Truth was a strong woman who fought for what was right, even if it was for her race, or her gender. Her speech “Ain’t I Woman,” was a powerful speech that she delivered extemporaneously of her simply acknowledging the fact that men and woman should have the same rights, she explains that both genders are just as smart and strong as one another, and there should not be any type of discrimination. Abolitionism and women’s rights were two different issues that Sojourner Truth fought diligently for, in the time period of women’s suffrage. Her speech also collaborated with realism. Accomplishing many things, Sojourner Truth died a successful woman that accomplished a lot for herself, her culture, and her gender.

“Ain’t I Woman” was delivered on May 29, 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akon, Ohio and was not yet titled. In 1863, an abolitionist and president of the convention by the name of Frances Gage, recounted Truth’s speech since it had not actually been recorded the day that she spoke. However, Gage’s recounting was not quite accurate, trying to insult Truth’s southern dialect with the newspaper that was sent out in 1851, her report was still accountable of making “Ain’t I Woman” a great powerful speech and took a huge part of the convention. Ironically, Gage trying to give a false impression of Truth made her famous and well respected because she was brave enough to speak on her emotions and fight for her rights, even if she was illiterate, she spoke out and was very understood. “One of the most unique and interesting speeches of the Convention was made by Sojourner Truth, an emancipated slave. It is impossible to transfer it to paper, or convey any adequate idea of the effect it produced upon the audience. Those only can appreciate it who saw her powerful form, her whole-souled, earnest gesture, and listened to her

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strong and truthful tones. She came forward to the platform and addressing the President” (Frances Gage) Even though Truth she was illiterate, the speech was remarkable and made great since. Her speech explains how woman where just as strong and smart as men. “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 and lash as well!” (Truth, 6-9) Sojourner stating this was metaphorically stating that she was capable of doing all the things that a man has done, despite her being a woman, and there should be no discrimination at all. Many ministers attended the second day of the Woman’s Rights Convention, and were not shy in voicing their opinion of man’s superiority over women. Since she was a female African American writer, she was more influential than Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. “The main reason this work fits into Realism is because she concentrated so much more on looking to the future and living in the now than searching in the past for all of life’s answers.” (Truth, 370). At this time, women were contributory in the abolitionist movement. Truth’s speech converses the discordance not only between the discrimination of men and women, but also between the analysis of white women and black women. She coordinates abolitionism with feminism, battling that any type of brutality of another was wrong. Truth fought for equality among races and between genders. However, the government still was taking place in segregation and allowed slavery to proceed and gave less rights to women because they did not work and had belittling roles in society. Equal rights was still the highest priority for Sojourner Truth. In order for her to gain it, she disobeyed the government’s laws, like she discusses in “And Ain’t I a Woman?”

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Abolitionism is the movement of ending slavery is the United States from 1800 to 1863. It was the ending of women not being able to participate in certain things that men could do. In 1865 slavery was outlawed by the thirteenth amendment. Those who participated in the act of abolishing slavery were called abolitionist. Not all abolitionist were slaves, most of them were white northerners who did not support slavery. Along with Sojourner Truth, William Lloyd Garrison “his newspaper was also an eloquent voice for abolition” (http://en.allexperts.com), Fredrick Douglass “an escaped slave, was also an eloquent speaker for the cause of abolition, and was probably helpful in convincing President Lincoln to make the Civil war about ending slavery.” (http://en.allexperts.com), Harriet Beecher Stowe “best known for writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was probably the single most effective piece of anti-slavery fiction written in the US. She probably had the greatest single impact of any woman in the movement. In terms of the actual leadership of the movement, white men tended to dominate.” (http://en.allexperts.com), are all examples of abolitionist. Truth, Garrison, and Douglass all met at the Northampton Association of Education and Industry of Massachusetts that was founded by abolitionist in 1842 to conduct productive labor. Participating with the group, Sojourner Truth is what she changed her name to from Isabella Baumfree. Sojourner meant traveler and she was “ordered to bring enlightenment to as many people as possible.” (Straub, 336) The association included 210 members that all lived on 500 acres of farmland to operate farmland and reform the industrial system. They voted for things such as how many hours they worked a day and progressive education. They were able to change twelve hours to eleven and later on to ten. Boys and girls were given equal education and physical exercise. With their ability to combine work and study, they were able to grab attention from boarding students from the outside of the

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community. The association also stimulated the liberal approach of equality and women’s suffrage. Participating with the association, Truth began to write her speeches on abolition and women’s rights. The association ceased in 1846. Not only did Sojourner believe in abolition, but also women’s rights, non-violence, and communicating with spirits. She soled her home in Northampton for $300 so she could participate with the group called Progressive Friends — an offshoot of the Quakers— in Harmonia, Michigan where they all shared the same beliefs.

Women’s Suffrage was the act of giving women the right to vote, run for office and have the same privileges as men. Referring back to “Ain’t I Woman,” women were very capable of doing “a man’s job,” so why not be able to have the chance to vote? Before, African American men had to own land in order to vote, it was questioned “what did a woman have to do to be able to vote?” Since in the early times, it was sought that men were more dominate and superior women, they were not capable of doing the same things, such as owning land and voting. “During the 1850s, the women’s rights movement gathered steam, but lost momentum when the Civil War began. Almost immediately after the war ended, the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution raised familiar questions of suffrage and citizenship. (The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, extends the Constitution’s protection to all citizens-and defines “citizens” as “male”; the 15th, ratified in 1870, guarantees black men the right to vote.)” (http://www.history.com) Women were not able to vote until the 19th Amendment which was enacted in 1920. Women fought almost 70 years to make it possible. In 1869 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony created a new organization, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). The organization included the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments as flagrant biases to women. “It needs to be noted that a woman’s rights were not much better than a slave’s. She had no legal

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right to the wages of her labor, no right to the custody of her children, and no legal presence save the person of her husband. She could not own property in her own name, could not contract legally in her own name, and could not travel if her husband or father objected. Many doors to education were closed to women. It could be argued that the Emancipation Proclamation and subsequent 13th Amendment to the Constitution provided freedom only for male slaves.” (thelizlibrary.org)


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