Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quote Sunday

Since it's black history month and all, here's some of Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I A Woman" (which is one of my favorite pieces of writing any month of the year). This happens to be one of the most beautiful speeches ever delivered.

"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 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."

Here's a video of Alfre Woodard reading the speech. It's so moving. She nailed it.

You know what I love about this speech? I love that she nailed down the really good rich parts woman-ness (a word I've lately become a big fan of). The strength and endurance, the toughness and independence, the durability and the spirituality, the mothering and the love that comes with it, and, best of all, the capacity women have to change things, to make things better. One stunning piece of writing.

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