Slavery In Sojourner Truth's Ain T I A Woman

1310 Words6 Pages
In Akron, Ohio, on May 29, 1851, Sojourner Truth delivered a fervent and fiery speech to the Women’s Convention that would later go on to be titled, “Ain’t I a Woman.” She famously affirmed her argument about women’s rights in her speech by saying, “That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages...Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman?” (Truth, Ain’t I a Woman). Her passionate words encapsulated the reality of being a woman during the antebellum era: a white woman was always inferior to a white man, and a black woman was always inferior to a white woman. Throughout the 1840s and 1850s, the institution of slavery entrenched itself into the southern society…show more content…
Slavery was a harsh and cruel system, and being a woman in that system was an extra burden that black women had to bear. Blacks performed egregious tasks daily, and female slaves were often expected to work on the plantation and proceed to cook, clean, and raise children. Additionally, with the system of slavery came the separation of families, and black women regularly had to raise children by themselves (Brinkley 261).The racist institution of slavery, however, existed largely to dehumanize slaves and normalize the idea that black slaves were property. As a result, female slaves were often vulnerable to unwanted sexual attention and abuse (Brinkley 264). As property, they were powerless to stop their master’s lewd advances, and would be punished brutally for resisting. Furthermore, the jealousy of the “plantation mistress” against her female slave produced by these advances made the daily life of these slaves insufferable (Northup, 12 Years a Slave). Wives of slave master’s could not directly punish their husbands for their infidelity, and for this reason they often punished the slaves themselves with erratic beatings, excessive workloads, and psychological torture (Brinkley 264). Nevertheless, female slaves often had children with their slave masters under these circumstances, which often resulted in the sale of both them and their children (Northup, 12 Years…show more content…
Both Southern white women and female slaves were disadvantaged by the patriarchy present in America, and were considered objects rather than people. These similarities, however, end when the institution of slavery is considered. Slavery during the Antebellum affected both white and black women negatively, but the institution damaged a black women exponentially more than it damaged a white woman. Slave labor changed the way that the Southern household was run, and Southern white women became even more inferior to their husbands because of it. For black women, however, the institution of slavery affected their psychological states, their marriages, and their family life. Slaves were frequently beaten, often without reason or cause. Their husbands were often sold to neighboring plantations, and female slaves were often terrorized by their male masters, ruining the sanctity of marriage amongst slave households (Brinkley 261). The children of female slaves were also often sold to other plantations, ripping apart the last remaining family that a female slave possessed (Northup, 12 Years a Slave). The constant auctioning of slaves and their children disturbed a female slaves ability to care for her children, and the sanctity of the family was ruined by the institution. In her speech,

More about Slavery In Sojourner Truth's Ain T I A Woman

Open Document