Born into slavery in 1797, Sojourner Truth was an African American abolitionist and a women’s rights activist. She supported causes such as prison reform, property rights, and universal suffrage. Truth spoke to the women’s convention about her experiences and tribulations as a black woman. Sojourner Truth uses the repetition of the rhetorical question “ain’t I a woman” for an emotional response from the audience. Truth is best known for her speech on racial inequalities, “Ain’t I a Woman”.
“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 the lash as well!” Truth expresses how men are looked to as the strongest, the most deserving, but she can take what a man believes he is capable of taking and ten times more. Being a black woman in the 1800’s, she was treated inhumane. She expresses how white men are offended by her, a black woman, asking for more rights. How can a white man, who is looked to as God in the 1800’s, be afraid of a woman having rights such as them? Is it fear? A comparison from reading’s, speeches and poems written by women in the 1600’s, 1700’s, and 1800’s is the connections of religion and a woman. Truth uses a connection between religion and faith in her speech.
Within the poem, Truth speaks of the protection women deserve; how as a black woman she not only is treated with no dignity and inhumane as a slave but even worse because she is a woman of color. Sojourner Truth uses the repetition of the rhetorical question “ain’t I a woman” for an emotional response from the audience. Throughout the poem she uses rhetorical strategies to capture the audience’s attention on gender and racial discrimination; such as personal anectodes and repition.