The Sojourner Truth Project reintroduces the authentic voice and ideas of Sojourner Truth in order to preserve her legacy. Sojourner Truth was an Afro-Dutch slave who advocated for women’s rights and gave a famous speech titled “Ain’t I a Woman.” There have been many renditions of this famous speech, and The Sojourner Truth Project sheds light on her identity and her ability to be an important part of social transgression.
Her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech was rendered by an abolitionist named by Frances Dana Gage almost twelve years after the speech was given. This is problematic because the rendition by Gage distorts Sojourner’s identity and also disregards her history. It is very important for women, especially African American women, to live their truth and for them to be able to tell it to every extent. We can assume that as an abolitionist, Gage used her speech to support the fight, but in doing so she weakens and disrespects the message and the importance that the original speech held. Sojourner was a slave and had to face the struggles of intersectionality. Intersectionality is being impacted my multiple forces and being abandoned to fight for yourself (Kimberlé Crenshaw). Sojourner was impacted by the forces of blackness and womanhood. To be black and a woman, meant that you had more than one fight. For her to unapologetically stand up to a system that was created to persecute her, the deliverance of the “Ain’t I a Woman” speech was a salient accomplishment. Sojourner was already deprived of her rights and Gage dulled the strongest tool this great woman had.
This connects to “Stop Asking if Women are Electable” by Amanda Renteria. Renteria argues that the chances of women electability is downplayed through politics because of social bias. Everyone is left thinking that women cannot be elected, not knowing the real statistics. Past, present and future generations are being misled simply because they are not aware of the real truth. This sends a discouraging message to young women, telling them that their efforts and achievements do not matter. Both the speech and the article show the continuous battle that women face. Whether intentional or unintentional, acts of altering or withholding the truth diminishes identities, portrays a false reality, and negates the voices of the most powerful individuals.
-- works cited --
Podell, Leslie. “The Sojourner Truth Project.” The Sojourner Truth Project. Accessed August 17, 2019. https://www.thesojournertruthproject.com.