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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sojourner...The Truth!


 In October of 1858 Sojourner Truth gave a series of lectures in Silver Lake, Indiana, on the abolition of slavery. During the course of her lectures, rumors were circulated that she was actually a man posing as a woman. At her final talk, a man challenged the notion and asked Sojourner to prove her womanhood by allowing certain women in the audience to examine her breast. The challenge was soon put to a vote and the overwhelming vote was “aye.” Many of the women in the audience were appalled by the request, but Sojourner Truth appeared undaunted. She told the men that her breasts had suckled many a white babe, to the exclusion of her own offspring, and that many of these babies had grown to be better men than those in the audience. From her place in front of the congregation Sojourner Truth revealed her breasts and told the men that it was not to her shame that she did so but to theirs.

Sources: Narrative of Sojourner Truth. A bondwoman of Olden Time, Olive Gilbert, comp. (New York: Arno, 1968 [1878]), pp. 137-139. (excerpt from Aren’t I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South, Deborah Gray White, 1985)

Wikipedia.org
Note: Abridged excerpt.

16 comments:

NML said...

What a fantastic story. She was so dignified! Thank you for sharing :-)

faith said...

What a strong woman, and so wise! Those "men" should all have been so ashamed they went into hiding, but I am sure they were not... sadly.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Oooh, she's good! While I read I was making up stuff she could've told them. I wonder how the audience reacted after she dared to bare.

Stephen Bess said...

NML-
Yes, I agree. I've never really known much about her. Her story was impressive.

Faith-
I hope that some of them were. It's always a shame when a woman of any color has to do something like that. I know I would've been ashamed.

GG-
lol! I'm sure that you could've given her some choice words. :)

get zapped said...

Sojourner Truth apparently had more balls than them too! Not to mention brains, courage and much, much more.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, some man are intimidated by inner-strength and confidence, especially from a woman of African descent. I am led to believe it is because it serves as a reminder that we were all created equal, with dignities and rights.

That's the Sojourner Truth!

Stephen Bess said...

Zapped-
lol! Yes, I agree.

Anon-
Amen. Thanks for that comment.

Sugar said...

Wow! What an amazing story. Tell me some men aren't intimidated by powerful women! I'll refer naysayers to your site to read this story from now on. :)

tryphina said...

Correction: I meant man as in all humans, both he and she as He has created them.

That's the Sojourner Truth!

Zeus said...

White men seem to have a thing for the nakedness of black women,

lyre said...

I am gonna use this story during black history month when I introduce her biography to my students.

bygpowis said...

saw soemthing on youtube http://youtube.com/watch?v=rPBH57BWhpE, "A Black Women's Smile". the things the sistahs have had to deal with.

Lyrically speaking said...

WOW...what a powerful picture and story. You can tell she was not the type of person you wouldn't want to mess with, lol...thanks for sharing

Rent Party said...

bygpowis, that video is g.r.e.a.t. I'm going to have everyone I know watch it.

Aly Cat 121 said...

Now see, that's just some ugly ig'nant sh*t. I'm not the type of person who can learn of things like this and not get mad. You know stuff like this still goes on today because if you as an African look too much like an African, than you are not considered Beautiful and vibrant. And I'm sure that's why some dumb azz wanted to see her breasts. Funny cuz when I looked at her picture I got chills of what a powerful Matriarch figure is and at the same time how she felt grandmotherly.

Dawn said...

She's clearly a better woman than me in that situation.