Women's Convention 1851: Soujouner Truth an Illiterate African-American Fighting for Equality

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A speech can be given by anyone doesn’t matter their gender, education, age, etc. In 1851, an illiterate African American woman, gave a speech at the Women’s Convention that had a powerful message. This speech was delivered by Sojourner Truth. She talks to the audience as if they were children. She talks about women’s rights and racial inequalities. Sojourner talked about the many hardships she had not just as a woman, but as a black woman. She used her experiences and references to the Bible to evoke the reaction of her audience. She advocated that women and blacks are equal to white men and should not need to be considered less. She talks to her audience directly to appeal to their personal beliefs on slavery and women’s rights. She uses several rhetorical questions throughout her speech to convey that women are worthy. Finally, she uses repetition to get a better connection with her audience.
The experiences she had as a slave inspired her to become a prominent abolitionist for slave rights and women’s right. She felt that it was her God given duty to spread the cruelty, hypocrisy, and wrongness of discrimination against slaves and women. She claims that she “found Jesus” in 1827, which led her to change her name and be more religious. Her actual name was Isabella, but she chose to change it to Sojourner, she was to travel up and down the land showing people their sins and being a sign unto them ( “Sojourner Truth”). Sojourner had experienced loss that motivated her to speak to African American mothers who lost children to slavery. Sojourner’s children were all sold off to slavery. She suffered a lot from this because she knew that her children were going to be broken, a term used by white slave masters to strip a slave of th...

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...his helped improve slave and women movements.
Sojourner was able to effectively captivate her audience’s attention with the multiple rhetorical devices she used. She delivered a powerful and meaningful message that was well accepted and understood by the audience. She appeals to her audience emotionally through her personal experiences, allusions to the Bible, repetition, and rhetorical questions to accomplish her message of the unfair treatment to women and slaves. She was able to provoke the response she wanted from her audience.

Works Cited

Sojourner, Truth. "Ain't I a Woman." Women's Convention. Akron, Ohio. Dec. 1851.
Modern History. Ed. Paul Halsall. Fordham University, 26 Jan. 1996. Web. 5 Mar.
2014. . "Sojourner Truth." Historic World Leaders. Gale, 1994. Biography in Context. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
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