Quotations From SOJOURNER TRUTH

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  • 1.
    Religion without humanity is a poor human stuff.
    Sojourner Truth (c. 1777-1883), African American slave; later an itinerant preacher and advocate of various social reforms including abolition, woman suffrage, and temperance. As quoted in The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, Memorial Chapter, by Frances W. Titus (added 1883; book originally copyrighted in 1875). Said near the end of her life.
  • 2.
    This is beautiful indeed; the colored people have given this to the head of the government, and that government once sanctioned laws that would not permit its people to learn enough to enable them to read this book.
    Sojourner Truth (c. 1777-1883), African American slave; later an itinerant preacher and advocate of various social reforms including abolition, woman suffrage, and temperance. As quoted in The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, part 2: "Book of Life," by Frances W. Titus (1875). Said in 1864 to President Abraham Lincoln, whom Truth staunchly supported, when he showed her a Bible presented to him "by the colored people of Baltimore." Truth was illiterate; this story is taken from a letter, written by a friend at Truth's dictation, to Rowland Johnson. It was dated November 17, 1864, from Freedman's Village, Virginia. Truth was referring to laws that prohibited teaching slaves to read and write.

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  • 3.
    What's dat got to do with women's rights or niggers' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint and yourn holds a quart, wouldn't ye be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?
    Sojourner Truth (c. 1777-1883), African American suffragist and abolitionist; later an itinerant preacher and advocate of various social reforms including abolition, woman suffrage, an. As quoted in The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, part 2: "Book of Life," by Frances W. Titus (1875). Said at the 1851 Woman's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, in response to a minister who had cited women's supposedly inferior intelligence as a reason to deny them suffrage and other rights.

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  • 4.
    I am sometimes told that "Women aint fit to vote. Why, don't you know that a woman had seven devils in her: and do you suppose a woman is fit to rule the nation?" Seven devils aint no account; a man had a legion in him.
    Sojourner Truth (c. 1797-1883), African American suffragist and abolitionist. As quoted in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 2, ch. 18, by Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and herself (1882). The former slave, itinerant preacher, and beloved activist in the woman suffrage movement said this on May 10, 1867, at a national convention of the American Equal Rights Association.

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  • 5.
    In the courts women have no rights, no voice; nobody speaks for them. I wish woman to have her voice there among the pettifoggers. If it is not a fit place for women, it is unfit for men to be there.
    Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), African American human rights activist and preacher. As quoted in Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings, part 3, by Miriam Schnier (1972). Speaking at an 1867 meeting of the American Equal Rights Association held in New York City.

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  • 6.
    Sisters, I a'n't clear what you'd be after. Ef women want any rights more'n dey's got, why don't dey jes take 'em, an' not be talkin' about it?
    Sojourner Truth (c. 1777-1883), African American slave; later an itinerant preacher and advocate of various social reforms including abolition, woman suffrage, and temperance. As quoted in The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, part 2: "Book of Life," by Frances W. Titus (1875). Truth was recounting to Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) and her family what she had said when asked to address a gathering of women's rights advocates. At this time, she was a guest in the home of Stowe, the famous abolitionist author of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). Stowe described the visit in "Sojourner Truth, the Libyan Sibyl," an article first published in the Atlantic Monthly (April 1863) and reprinted by Titus in this book.

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