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Published:March 19th, 2012 12:15 EST
Revisiting Sojourner Truth this Women's History Month

Revisiting Sojourner Truth this Women's History Month

By S Renee Greene

Isabella Baumfree (Bomefree) was a black female born in 1797 in a Dutch settlement in  Ulster County, NY. Of course, she was born a slave. The times di[c]tated that.

Isabella was promised her freedom, but her owner reneged on the deal, so she took her infant daughter, Sophia, and didn`t run, but walked away, " in her words; leaving her son, Peter, behind.

Her master caught up with her and the people who took her in offered him $20 to leave her be, which he did. She was not allowed to refer to her new owners " as master " or mistress, " but by their given names. 

Isabella then had to go back for her son, Peter, and after he was abused and scarred for life, the courts returned him to her. It was after that that Isabella began to preach in the Methodist church. Her escape and her fight for her son were not her only legal entanglements, as she was accused of poisoning the man who had taken her under his wing and was also accused of theft, but was eventually acquitted.

She changed her name to Sojourner Truth and wandered around the country as a traveling preacher, stating that The Spirit " had called her. She lived on a co-op farm, then when it went broke, she moved on to a cotton farm that also went under, then eventually di[c]tated her memoirs and recollections as a slave and a free woman to a writer. Copies of the memoir were published, she sold them, and that is how she ended up making a living.

"In 1854, she attended the Ohio Women`s Rights Convention in Akron upon invitation, and there gave her now famous speech Ain`t I a Woman?" 

"The Women`s Rights Convention was a delegation aimed at targeting a snub that happened to Abolitionists Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Staton at The World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, where they were not allowed to participate because they were women." 

Remember two things: A woman scorned...and Sandra Fluke, circa 2012. Ms Fluke, as everyone knows by now was shunned from and not allowed to speak at an all-male congressional panel on women`s right to contraceptives, and then subsequently called a "sl[u]t" by an infamous radio and TV personality Rush Limbaugh. They tiered on the side of her "lack of experience" in the matter at hand, but never addressed the reasons why an "all-male" panel with no women on it was allowed go on in the first place. As if the fact that she is a woman wasn`t experience enough.

If they come `gunning` for your reproductive rights today and win; tomorrow, it will be your right to own property and your right to vote. One thing will only lead to a domino effect on the other. If you poo-poo that thought and say ain`t gonna happen, " trust me, we didn`t think this fight would happen again, either. I didn`t think I`d live to see a rehashing of women`s rights in this country when the Supreme Court essentially said women have the right to have rights of their own and to do their thinking for themselves. " And now here it is, back from the grave and flying in a circle again.

And now, a portion of Truth`s speech:

"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 helps me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place, and ain`t I a woman? ... I have plowed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me -- and ain`t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man (when I could get it), and bear the lash as well -- and ain`t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children and seen most all sold off to slavery and when I cried out with my mother`s grief, none but Jesus heard me -- and ain`t I woman?" 

It is the year 2012, and I am documenting, for the record, that I am witnessing the rebirth of the woman`s rights and suffragist movement in America that we all once thought was history and shoved it to the back of our minds in memoriam. " We thought, or believed, that the conversation was done and since it was over, the topic should never have come back up again.

It has. The revolution is starting all over again, mainly because of the legal actions of the mostly Republican Party majority, and it is being digitally televised.

Between their attacks on Planned Parenthood, and their insistence that women have no right to access birth control, no right to an abortion, even if ra[p]ed or ra[p]ed by a relative in an act of incest; that women must have sonograms before having an abortion, forcing the abortion to move past the third trimester into viable fetus status, and allowing men`s own access to male enhancement drugs such as Viagra and Cialis, to be paid for by insurance, and by redefining ra[p]e to mean it`s not really ra[p]e even if a woman says NO, " they are revisiting an era that should have been long dead and gone by now. Note: When it comes to abortion, I say if a fetus, eggs and embryo have no viable life apart from the mother`s womb, then it has no rights apart from the mother until after birth. But that`s another argument for another day.

People who would do this kind of thing, make laws to subject women to male intimidation, harassment, and rule, fear the power of women ad majorum. When women of all races, nationalities and ethnicities start pulling together, even on one single issue--they`re screwed. Royally.

One thing certain men don`t like is being what they call "de-masculated" (is that a word? well, anyway, I`ll adapt it for a minute). They fear what women`s power will do in the long run. It supposedly makes them more "manly" to run a road up a woman`s behind and keep her disenfranchised and subordinate. It`s a male ego issue moreso than anything else with them. When Republican moguls with a national profile like Rush Limbaugh make statements like ...well, we buy women diamonds and meals..." he`s forgetting something critically important and out of his mental low-hanging fruit Cro-Magnon man reach; and, for the record, he`s been hanging around far too many subjugated bimbos for way too long. 

It would then appear that they like using the mentalities and mindsets of the types of women they are accustomed to playing footsies with to represent all of us.

In closing, I`m going to borrow a truth from Lady Sojourner of the same last name, in honor of black history and women`s history month: No man ain`t never bought me a diamond or a meal, and ain`t I a woman? "


Sojourner Truth History

Contraception-gate: Sandra Fluke and Rush Limbaugh "at odds"

Limbaugh and the Quandary of S[e]xism and Misogyny

Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons