“Ain’t I A Woman?”

By Larena Tannert

On May 29, 1851, at a Woman’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, Sojourner Truth delivered her most famous speech, “Ain’t I A Woman?” Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and women’s rights activist, tackling issues of slavery and gender discrimination publicly and passionately. Originally born a slave, Sojourner Truth escaped in 1826 and after gaining her freedom she dedicated her life to preaching abolition and equal rights for all. Less talked about is her work when the Civil War first broke out, where she worked to supply troops with needed clothing, blankets, and food, and to recruit African American soldiers for the Union. During Reconstruction, she worked for the Freedmen’s Bureau, where she helped many ex-slaves assimilate into American society as free men. Sojourner Truth is best remembered today for her groundbreaking speech about gender equality. In her speech, she preached that women should be treated as equal to men, which may not seem like a big deal today, but at the time her ideas were seen as radical. This speech paved the way for many women’s rights movements and was an inspiration to millions of women who joined together to fight for gender equality and women’s suffrage. Her speech helped lay the foundation for the advocation of truly equal rights between men and women and it successfully inspired millions of women for centuries to come.