Sojourner Truth lived at a time when the society’s dominant values dictated that African-Americans were, by definition, inferior: morally, physically, and intellectually. Some justified human slavery on these grounds. “Inferiority” meant that one was, because of their color, ethnicity, or gender, less capable all around and therefore less deserving of equal rights: even basic human rights such as freedom from want and fear. Even so-called “free blacks” (African-Americans who were not slaves owned by individuals) in the north and south were deprived of their rights. One historian has said that even though the free black population in the United States lived in a situation superior to the slave’s, they were still essentially “slaves to their communities” and the subjects of racial oppression. They could not vote, or own property, or work without interference. So in Truth’s time, African-Americans, even when free, did not enjoy equality.
Similarly, women were seen as inferior to men and their rights were denied for reasons very closely related to those applied to African-Americans. By the standards of the times a “real woman” was white and, mostly likely, Protestant. Her duties were confined to the home, in raising of children and caring for her husband. The “real woman” did not work outside of the home, or exert herself in physical and intellectual activities (some opponents of women’s education argued, in fact, that education would destroy the female’s ability to have children and might lead to insanity).
If the United States government were to support the reparations to the descendents of African American slaves it would be an admitting of their responsibility. This is an issue that the United States government does not want to bring back to the forefront. To them, slavery is an occurrence in history such as the Vietnam War, which is not easy to tell about without editing. What is done is done, ...
Most of all, women were supposed to remain silent on public issues: they did not have the vote and it was thought highly improper for a woman to speak out in public on any issue.
The “ideal” and the reality were always at odds, but the myth of the “real woman” was almost always oppressive to the vast majority of women in the United States. It hurt the life-chances of those who did exert themselves and worked out of necessity — outside of the home and inside — on farms, factories, small shops, etc.. It also weighed down on those women who, at least superficially, matched the ideal. Women did have opinions and desired to speak out in public, in no uncertain terms, on the great issues of their time. Few periods demanded activism as much as the period surrounding the Civil War. Here the struggle against slavery and the modern feminist movements were born, almost simultaneously. Both were struggles for equality, dignity, and self-determination. Both forced the nation to reconstruct the meaning of “freedom,” “equality,” and “democracy.” Sojourner Truth emerged as a great leader and a unequaled symbol for both movements.
Truth was an itinerant preacher and anti-slavery activist whose principle weapon was the spoken word, delivered in public from pulpits and platforms. Her speeches are typically recorded in a distinct and heavy colloquial pattern which is meant to re-create a unique “Negro dialect.” The extent to which Black and white Americans interacted — particularly the poorer and working classes — and the degree to which they had to communicate with one another in their everyday lives means that they probably learned the language from one another (A white southern writer, Wilbur J. Cash observed in his book, The Mind of the South, that the “Negro entered into white man as profoundly as white man entered into Negro, subtly influencing every gesture, every word, every emotion and idea, every attitude”).
This would indicate that they spoke with each other frequently and probably always understood what the other was saying — including when they used commonly recorded terms such as “dem,” “dar,” “dat,” and “gwine” (this last word is very often mispronounced as “g-wine” when the “correct” pronunciation is probably closer to “go-win-na”).
F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays women in a negative way in his book The Great Gatsby. While each woman in the story has her own distinguishing characteristics, all of the women are shown to be absent minded and deceitful people. Fitzgerald shows these characteristics through the use of symbolism, the use of women's actions, and/or the use of women's words. The first female character that is ...
In other words, modes of communication and the rhythm of spoken words were likely not as race-specific as we might think, given what history books have told us about how Blacks and whites speak “differently.” Differences in speech patterns and dialect reflect differences in culture, region, and education, but not racial background. Truth’s speeches were recorded by others (she was illiterate) to reflect a strong “Negro [racial] dialect,” and a regional dialect that incorrectly marks her as a southerner. In fact, Truth was born into slavery in the North, in upstate New York around 1799 in a Dutch community. Dutch became her first language and throughout her life, Truth’s spoken English — her sword and shield in her crusade — was distinguished by a strong Dutch accent, although this is clearly not the impression created by the records that survive.
Sojourner Truth battled race and gender inequalities for most of her life because they were incompatible with a democratic society. The democracy she believed in respected and guaranteed the “inalienable rights” of all citizens, regardless of their race, gender, color, or religious beliefs. More importantly, to Truth’s mind, inequality was wrong in the eyes of God. All of Truth’s beliefs were ultimately rooted in and guided by her great and seemingly limitless religious faith. She was not alone in this regard. A period of religious activism called the Second Great Awakening was gaining momentum in the United States at about the time Truth was relleased from slavery in 1827. This spiritual resurgence also spurred the abolitionist movement. She not only moved into the main currents of this revivalist spirit, Truth applied its better possibilities to correcting the great injustices that stained American society.
Slavery had been in America since about the middle of the 17th century and the United States was deeply invested in it. It is not too much to say, in fact, that slavery was one of the most important institutions in the nation at the time it was created in the 1780s; that it was the foundation of a country that was, paradoxically, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” (to use Lincoln’s words).
Truth Disguised by Words Throughout history people have used disguises to deceive others to hide their true identity. Hiding ones true identity is a predominant theme throughout King Lear for characters dress up to deceive their friends and family. Another use of disguise in this play is using words to hide ones true emotions and personality. Words have a strong importance to the characters in ...
People convinced that democracy was more important than any other idea began to organize to battle the inequities in society. This meant that systems that held African-Americans in chains and limited the opportunities of women had to be challenged. The American Antislavery Society was founded by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison in 1831. Women dedicated to overthrowing sexism gathered in 1848 at the famous Seneca Falls Convention and launched their crusade. Speaking to both movements, Truth told one of her many audiences, with deep wit and wisdom: