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Sojourner Truth and My Dad

About three weeks ago our Catechism topic was Mary, and one of the Catholic Update's had a quote by Sojourner Truth (Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.). That awed me. Fast forward three weeks to yesterday when my parents came up to take me lunch. They come up every Thursday, and it is always the same routine. They always get here way too early; Mom always waits in the car with her book; Dad always waits in my office breakroom with his book; and at 11:00 Dad and I walk out to the car talking about whatever he's reading. Yesterday it was a book on famous speeches. En route to the car he asked, "What do you know about Sojouner Truth?" Of course, thanks to my Catholic Update, I spouted out that one quote. His eyes got big as saucers! He didn't expect me to know anything. I love impressing my dad!! Of course, I immediately confessed how coincidental it was that I knew. We had lunch; we ran a mad-dash Christmas errand; and we got back to the campus with three minutes to spare. Dad insisted he be given the chance to read the entire Sojouner Truth Ain't I A Women speech to me. So Mom and I sat in the car eating DQ Blizzards and f r e e z i n g while Dad got more and more animated and expressive. The speech is truly inspirational, and I pasted it below because everyone ought to read it. But it was hysterical hearing *my dad* yelling "Ain't I a woman?" as he emphatically beat on the steering wheel, getting louder and more emphatic with each repetition, and my mom's immediately followed pleas of "Vic, not so loud! It’s embarrassing!"

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain't I A Woman?
Delivered 1851
Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? (member of audience whispers, "intellect") That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

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 your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

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.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.



( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 12th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Gawd, I love your parents! lol.
Dec. 13th, 2008 03:15 am (UTC)
they *are* crazy :)
i'm meeting my dad for lunch tomorrow. i can't wait to see what he'll be on about then.

hey - i posted the pictures of the BBT cookies to that community i told you about (thanks for the encouragement!!!). i got like eight or ten responses about how much they made people giggle. guess what the most often made comment was - how much they loved howard's belt buckle! funny, huh? oh - and someone said Raj looked like an adorable little transvestite!!! LOL
Dec. 12th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
I love that Image Madladyred. Of your dad pounding the steering wheel.

Also I like this quote.

If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Dec. 13th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
I also really liked the bit about one women turning the world upside down alone so women working together could turn it back. :)

Edited at 2008-12-13 03:19 am (UTC)
Dec. 12th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
That was awesome!
She was definitely a wise woman!!
I wish I could have heard her speak. =o)
Dec. 12th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
And it's strange all these little 'co-inky-dinks' surriounding this class huh? They'll talk about stuff in class, and then I'll hear the same thing a few days later from a totally different source.
It's weird! And it's happened like 6 times to me already!
Dec. 13th, 2008 03:12 am (UTC)
i'm loving these coinkydinks! i think they are little winks from God!! :)
Dec. 13th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
Sojourner Truth was the slave of a Dutchman. She never had a southern accent. She might have had a dutch one but not a southern one. I can dig through my notes for more info if you like....
Dec. 13th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
What about a southern accent? I'm confused. I didn't mention an accent, so I do not understand what you are referring to.

LOL - if anything, my dad would have a northern accent. He's from New York!
Dec. 13th, 2008 05:01 am (UTC)
The piece you quoted has a southern dialect. I was just pointing out that she probably would have had a dutch accent.
Dec. 13th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
Oh, okay. I thought you were talking about something *I* wrote. The source of the speech I'm quoting came from the Fordham University (The Jesuit University of New York)'s webiste "The Modern History Sourcebook." I did a Google search based on what I remembered from the book my dad had, and that was the first link that came up. I don't remember the name of his book, however. I just remember it had a pretty cover - very stars and stripes in sepia tone style. :)

But if you google "Sojourner Truth:"Ain't I a Woman?", December 1851" you will come up with several websites quoting the speech, so I think it is legit.

EDIT _ whooops! I meant to use my college icon!! huzzah! :)

Edited at 2008-12-13 05:25 am (UTC)
Dec. 13th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
That's because the woman that transposed it took creative licence and put it in the southern dialect. Trust me on this Sojourner Truth NEVER was a southern black woman. She may have been written that way to illicet sympathy but she was not.

Dec. 13th, 2008 06:21 am (UTC)
Personally, I could care less what her 'accent' was. I was more interested in what she had to say.
Dec. 13th, 2008 06:33 am (UTC)
This is true.
Dec. 13th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
I actually wasn't reading it as a 'southern' accent. I was reading is as kind of "poor" english in a way. She started life speaking dutch (she had a Dutch master until she was 9)and although she was made to learn english,that's not saying it was GOOD english. Many slaves spoke in a rather poor engish. Plus we are talking about the 1800's here.They talked differently. Differently enough we might not recognize it as such. The only things I saw that seemed "southern" to me was "ain't" which while mostly southen, is not only southern, just bad english. And a couple of endearments. I believe she was 57 when she made that (very well documented)speech... I know TONS of older woman who use endearments.There are a small handful of other words that sound kind of southern, but are not actually. They are just old.

I think that we can all agree that she was a remarkable woman, no matter the accent she may have had.

Oh, speaking of accents. There have been some studies that are showing that what we think of as accents might be wrong. Such as... there are people who believe the "old english" accents we use for all older period movies might be wrong.The study is showing as if the people in older europe might have had more of what we know of as a hillbilly accent. Their reasoning is sound, (if frightening) the thought is they came over here and then hid themselves away. Not interacting, coming across no one to else to water down thier accents. Normally all accents and languages are influenced by the people around them. "hillbillies" (or whatever you want to call them) in theory may have kept their "accents". Kind of like the Amish and German. The speak German... but not really the German we know now.

Weird huh? I'll have to look that back up one day and see how it was going. I just don't think period movies would sound the same with that accent. :D
Dec. 13th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
Eddie Izzard did a show about languages called Mongrel Nation. We haven't found a copy of it ourselves, but John has seen a clip of it on YouTube. He said Eddie was using Old English (older than Shakespeare) to talk to a modern Dutchmen. How amazing it that? They understood it better than Eddie did. Shows how closely related we can be. :)

I have heard the same thing about the Hillbilly accent! I can't remember where, but possibly via a celtic festivals. Their music is drawn from that same connection, I would guess. Also, I'm flashing on some actor in an interview talking about the southern accent being a slowed down version of the British accent when talking about learning an accent for a movie? I'm sure I heard that, but can't remember who said it. :(

My dad's book was called Under God. I had lunch with him today and had him show me the book. While I had it, I read the section on how Sojouner picked out her name and her conversion experience. Truly an amazing women!!
Dec. 14th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
That's what happens with us being such.... info whores. We watch or read some interesting bit of information and then can never find it again.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who heard about the whole Hillbilly accent.
Dec. 14th, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
Dec. 16th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
Kenton so rocks! he's the master of web searching.

Dec. 16th, 2008 01:47 am (UTC)
He is isn't he?
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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