Sojourner Truth: “Ain’t I a Woman?”

Film clip. Voices of a People’s History.
Dramatic reading of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” (1851) by Alfre Woodard.

  • Themes: Racism & Racial Identity, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School | Resource Types: Films

Sojourner Truth: “Ain’t I a Woman?” (1851)

Sojourner Truth (c. 1797 – November 26, 1883) was the self-given name, from 1843 onward, of Isabella Baumfree, an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. Her best-known extemporaneous speech on racial inequalities, Ain’t I a Woman?, was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. During the Civil War, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army; after the war, Truth tried unsuccessfully to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves. [Description from Wikipedia.]



Film Clip Description

Alfre Woodard recites the speech on February 1, 2007 at All Saints Church, Pasadena, Calif. The excerpt is from Voices of a People’s History of the United States edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove.

More video clips can be found at the Voices of a People’s History website and in the film The People Speak.

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