Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)
Born into slavery, Truth was among the first to articulate the divide between black womanhood and white womanhood in America.
In her 1851 “Ain’t I a Woman” speech, which remains one of the most famous women’s rights speeches ever delivered, Truth asked the Akron, Ohio, audience:
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! But ain’t a woman? Look at me. Look at my arm. I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman?
She is the sole black woman to have a literal seat at the table at artist Judy Chicago’s iconic “Dinner Party” installation, which features some of the most prominent women in history.