Sojourner Truth was an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826.
After going to court to recover her son in 1828, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man.
She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843 after she became convinced that God had called her to leave the city and go into the countryside “testifying the hope that was in her”. Her best-known speech was delivered extemporaneously, in 1851, at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.
The speech became widely known during the Civil War by the title “Ain’t I a Woman?,” a variation of the original speech re-written by someone else using a stereotypical Southern dialect; whereas Sojourner Truth was from New York and grew up speaking Dutch as her first language.
During the Civil War, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army; after the war, she tried unsuccessfully to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves (summarised as the promise of “forty acres and a mule”).
Here is our selected Sojourner Truth quotes that we believe will inspire you to stand for your rights and freedom.
48 Sojourner Truth Quotes
1. If women want rights more than they got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it?
2. I’m not going to die, I’m going home like a shooting star.
3. Religion without humanity is very poor human stuff.
4. Oh no, honey, I can’t read little things like letters. I read big things like men.
5. I feel safe in the midst of my enemies, for the truth is all powerful and will prevail.
6. Though it seems curious, I do not remember ever asking for anything but what I got it. And I always received it as an answer to my prayers.
7. I have plowed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me. And aren’t I a woman?
8. It is the mind that makes the body.
9. 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 are asking to do it, the men better let them.
10. I know and do what is right better than many big men who read.
11. Then I will speak upon the ashes.
12. 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.
13. Because of them, I can now live the dream. I am the seed of the free, and I know it. I intend to bear great fruit.
14. Where there is so much racket, there must be something out of kilter
15. You have been having our rights so long, that you think, like a slave-holder, that you own us. I know that it is hard for one who has held the reins for so long to give up; it cuts like a knife. It will feel all the better when it closes up again.
16. If it is not a fit place for women, it is unfit for men to be there.
17. If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down, these women together ought to be able to turn it right again.
18. It is the mind that makes the body.
19. When I got religion, I found some work to do to benefit somebody
20. Where there is so much racket, there must be something out of kilter
21. Let others say what they will of the efficacy of prayer, I believe in it, and I shall pray. Thank God! Yes, I shall always pray.
22. Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
23. I’m not going to die, I’m going home like a shooting star.
24. We have all been thrown down so low that nobody thought we’d ever get up again, but we have been long enough trodden now; we will come up again, and now I am here.
25. he was soon drawn into a circle of associates who did not improve either his habits or his morals.
26. You may hiss as much as you please, but women will get their rights anyway.
27. Now, if you want me to get out of the world, you had better get the women votin’ soon. I shan’t go till I can do that.
28. And what is that religion that sanctions, even by its silence, all that is embraced in the ‘Peculiar Institution’? If there can be anything more diametrically opposed to the religion of Jesus, than the working of this soul-killing system – which is as truly sanctioned by the religion of America as are her ministers and churches – we wish to be shown where it can be found.
29. he was soon drawn into a circle of associates who did not improve either his habits or his morals.
30. Many slaveholders boast of the love of their slaves. How would it freeze the blood of some of them to know what kind of love rankles in the bosoms of slaves for them! Witness the attempt to poison Mrs. Calhoun, and hundreds of similar cases. Most ‘surprising ‘ to everybody, because committed by slaves supposed to be so grateful for their chains.
31. The end of life is to be like God, and the soul following God will be like Him.
32. Look there above the center, where the flag is waving bright; We are going out of slavery, we are bound for freedom’s light; We mean to show Jeff Davis how the Africans can fight…
33. Absurdity of the claims so arrogantly set up by the masters, over beings designed by God to be as free as kings; and at the perfect stupidity of the slave, in admitting for one moment the validity of these claims.
34. Yes,’ she said, ‘the rich rob the poor, and the poor rob one another.
35. Her unwavering confidence in an arm which she believed to be stronger than all others combined could have raised from her sinking spirit.
36. If it is not a fit place for women, it is unfit for men to be there.
37. As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent.
38. I tell you I can’t read a book, but I can read the people.
39. 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 dey is asking to do it, the men better let them.
40. And ain’t, I a woman? I have borne thirteen children and seen them most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me!
41. Then I will speak upon the ashes
42. I’m not going to die, I’m going home like a shooting star.
43. I feel safe in the midst of my enemies, for the truth is all powerful and will prevail.
44. Where there is reverence there is fear, but there is not reverence everywhere that there is fear, because fear presumably has a wider extension than reverence.
45. Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.
46. If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it
47. I only wish that ordinary people had an unlimited capacity for doing harm; then they might have an unlimited power for doing good.
48. know and do what is right better than many big men who read