“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.”
In relation to my book review of The House Girl I wanted to find an African American Woman who was involved in the abolition. I was delighted when I discovered Sojourner Truth. She was an abolitionist and feminist way before her time.
Sojourner began her life as a slave in New York with the name Isabella. She was sold roughly four times. Once even being sold in a bundle with some sheep for only $100.
When she finally gained her freedom she vowed that she would joining the abolitionist movement. Sojourner toured the country speaking not only for the abolition cause but for women of color as well. She was concerned that the abolitionists were overlooking the rights of women in their search for freedom. At an equal rights convention she said:
There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights, but not a word about the colored women; and if colored men get their rights, and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before. So I am for keeping the thing going while things are stirring; because if we wait till it is still, it will take a great while to get it going again.
In addition to championing the rights of women, she was also one of the first African Americans to challenge a white man in court…and win! One of her sons that was still a slave was sold illegally to a slave owner in Alabama. She challenged the sale and was able to get him back.
Sojourner resettled ex slaves into new homes in the west where they could get a free fresh start. She also worked at improving the lives of the people who resided in Freedom Village, a community of free slaves in Washington D.C. However, she soon discovered upon working there that people from Maryland were kidnapping the children. When the parents spoke up they were threatened and held against their will. That’s when Sojourner stood up for these families putting a stop to the kidnappings.
She continued to fight for women’s right to vote, prison reform and against capital punishment. Sojourner Truth was truly a woman before her time!
My favorite quote is:
Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.