Angelina Grimke And Sojourner Truth Essay

Angelina Grimke And Sojourner Truth Essay

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Angelina Grimke and Sojourner Truth were both prominent American civil rights activists of the 19th century who focused on the abolition of slavery and women’s rights issues, respectively. While both of these women challenged the societal beliefs of the United States at the time regarding these civil rights issues, the rhetorical strategies used by each of these women to not only illustrate their respective arguments but also to raise social awareness of these issues was approached in very different fashions. Angelina Grimke promoted the use of white middle-class women’s positions in the household to try to influence the decision makers, or men, around them. On the other hand, Sojourner Truth, a former slave turned women’s rights activist, attempted to deviate from the submissive role to which she was previously confined and used her role as a free woman to challenge the white view of black womanhood, whilst simultaneously equating herself to the same physical and intellectual level as the man. Both Grimke’s and Truth’s juxtaposing strategies of raising consciousness of abolition and women’s successfully draw long-standing stereotypes of women to appeal to different facets of white society.

Angelina Grimke, a white woman who grew up in a rich, plantation-owning Southern family, completely abandoned the views held by those around her. Still, her deviation from the confederate mindset did not cause her to necessarily promote total equality between men and women. As an abolitionist, Grimke suggested that women use their submissive positions in the household in order to influence heir husbands. Furthermore, Grimke’s tone and proposals differed as she targeted women from the North and the South. Grimke recognized that in the common S...


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...intellectual abilities. Some of Truth’s statements at this convention include: “I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I can carry as much as any mean, and I can eat as much too”. These statements highlight the fact that women were thought to have less physical and intellectual ability than men, and as such were afforded fewer rights. By recurrently equating herself to men in all of these arenas, Truth displayed the commonalities between men and women. Furthermore, Truth’s views came from the stance of a former African American slave, who were not. In this speech, Truth paralleled herself, a black woman, to have the same abilities as a white man, thereby attempting to change her audience’s view of the current existing American capitalist patriarchal structure that put white men at the top and women of color at the bottom of the pyramid.

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