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A’n’t I a Woman?

av Lene Tolstrup Christensen
SojournerTruthMini

SojournerTruthMini

Sojourner Truth ( 1797 -1883) var slave i USA indtil 1826 hvor hun stak af fra sin ejer og blev hjulpet af en familie der købte hende fri. Dette var året før staten New York frigav alle slaver født før 1799 med en Anti Slavery Law.

Hun var den første sorte kvinde der, i 1828, vandt en retssag over en hvid mand da hun fik en søn tilbage fra en slaveejer. Hun var også den første sorte der anlagde sag mod en hvid for injurier, i 1836, – og vandt sagen.

Da hun blev fri så hun det som sit kald at rejse rundt i USA og fortælle om sine oplevelser for at tale både slavernes og kvindernes sag som hun fandt var uadskillelige. Hun talte oftest til den hvide del af befolkningen – usædvanligt for en sort prædikant.

Når hun stod frem og talte var det med dyb stemme og dreven accent. Hun var højere end de fleste mænd (ca. 1,80 m) og bred som en smedesvend af mange års hårdt arbejde i marken. Og hun turde stå frem – modsat de fleste andre kvindesagsforkæmpere der var til Akron Konventet (for kvinderettigheder) i Ohio i maj 1851 hvor hun holdt sin tale, A’n’t l a Woman?.

På konventets anden dag var der kommet flere mandlige præster for at diskutere kvindernes ideer og forslag. Præsterne var modvillige og for svarede mændenes rettigheder og privilegier pga. deres overlegne intellekt, fordi Kristus var en mand og fordi Eva havde syndet i Edens Have.

Annonce

Da ingen andre rejste sig, gjorde Sojourner det til mange af kvindernes skræk. De frygtede at hun ville blande slavesagen ind i kvindesagen og de derved ville få dårlig omtale. Men hendes tale vakte begejstring og taknemmelig jubel fra kvinderne (hvide) i salen. Talen var ikke skrevet ned for Sojourner kunne hverken læse eller skrive, så her er den gengivet ud fra præsidenten for kvindesagen, Frances D. Gages, hukommelse og med hendes kommentarer

 

Sojourner Truth

A’n’t l a Woman?, 28.-29. maj 1851

Wall, chilern, whar dar is so much racket dar must be somethin’ out o’ kilter. I tink dat ’twixt de niggers of the Souf and de womin at the Norf, all talkin’ ’bout rights, de white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all dis here talkin’ ’bout?

Dat man ober dar say dat womin needs to be helped into carriages, and Iifted ober ditches, and to hab de best place everywhar. Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles, or gips m e an y b es t place! (And raising herse/f to her juli height, and her voice to a pitch like rolling thunder, she asked) And a’n’t I a woman?

Look at mel Look at my arm! (and she bared her right arm to the shoulder, showing her tremendous museu/ar power). I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head mel

And a’n’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when could get it – and bear de lash as well! And a’n’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen chilern, and seen’em mos’ all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’ s grief, none but Jesus heard mel And a’n’t I a woman?

Den dey talks ’bout dis ting in de head; what dis dey call it? (lntellect, whispered someone near her). Dat’ sit, honey. What’s dat got to do wid womin’s rights or nigger’ s rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yourn holds a quart, wouldn’t ye be mean not to let me have m y littie half-measure full? (And she pointed her significant finger, and sent a keen glance at the minister who had made the argument. The cheering was long and loud.)

Den dat littie man in black dar, he say women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wan’t a woman! Whar did your Christ come from? (Rolling thunder couldn’t have stilledthat crowd, as did those deep, wonderjul tones, as she stood there with outstretched arms and eyes of fire. Raising her voice still louder, she repeated), Whar did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothin’ to do wid Him. (Oh, what a rebuke that was to that littie man.)

(Turning again to another objector, she took up the defence of Mother Eve. I can not follow her through i t all. !t was pointe d, and witty, and solemn; eliciting at atmost every sentence deafening applause; and she ended by asserting): If the fust woman God ever made was strong enough to turn de world upside down all alone, dese women togedder (and she glanced her eye over the platform) ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now dey is asking to do it, de men better let’ em. (Long-continued cheering greeted this.) Bleeged to ye for hearin’ on me, and now old Sojaurner han’t got nothin’ more to say.

 

 

Bibliografisk

Introduktionen: Lene Tolstrup Christensen, redaktør på RetorikMagasinet.

Kilde: James Andrews & David Zarefsky: American Voices: Significant Speeches in American History 1640-1945. Longman, New York, 1989.

RetorikMagasinet 31 (1999)

 

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