The year was 1852, the place Akron, Ohio. The tension was thick at this women's rights convention, where clergy-led opposition denounced the equality of women by pointing to the sin of Eve and the masculinity of Jesus.
A tall, gaunt figure rose from a quiet corner and strode toward the platform. The audience recognized Sojourner Truth in the old face shaded by an awkward sunbonnet. A chorus of women's voices protested the presence of this former slave, fearing that the credibility of their cause would be undermined if onlookers thought women's rights were connected to the abolition of slavery. They shouted and hissed to prohibit her from speaking. But men were maligning her God, and Sojourner could not be kept silent. With poise, she thundered in her deep voice:
"...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 helped me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gave me any best place! And aren't I a woman?...
I have plowed and planted and gathered into barns and no man could ever head me--and aren't I a woman?
I have borne five children and seen them all sold off into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard--and aren't I 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 together ought to be able to turn it back and get it rightside up again; and now that they're asking to do it, the men better let them."