Sojourner Truth

1797-1883

Aint I a Woman?

Aint I a woman?
A found poem from Sojourner Truth's most famous speech, adapted into poetic form by Erlene Stetson click here to see the full text of the speech, in non-poem format.


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 puddles
      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.

 Sojourner Truth photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truth Links


19CWWW Truth page
A Biography of Truth, from Stamp on Black History collection.
The Truth Memorial statue page
From a Women's Studies collection

(The following is quoted from an editor's note in the anthology where this poem is found)
"There is no exact copy of this speech given at the Women's rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1852. The speech is adapted to the poetic format by Erelene Stetson from the copy found in Sojurner, God's Faithful Pilgrim by Arthur Huff Fauset, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1938)."
The poem and note, along with other great women's poems, can be found in Ain't I a Woman: A Book of Women's Poetry from Around The World, Illona Linthwaite, Editor. New York: Wing Books, 1993, page 129.

Page created July 14, 1998

Last update: May 2003