Aunty Sojourner

On October 29, 1864 Abraham Lincoln at the conclusion of a meeting with Sojourner Truth took the book she had brought with her and signed his autograph “For Aunty Sojourner Truth, A. Lincoln.” Born a slave in 1797, Isabella Baumfree would change her name in 1843 to Sojourner Truth. In 1826 when Truth escaped slavery she stated , “I did not runoff for I thought that wicked but I walked off believing that to be all right.” She is most noted for her extemporaneous speech given at the 1851 Women’s Convention in Akron Ohio, which has been titled “Ain’t I a Woman.”
Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I could have ploughed 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 them 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 a woman? …
As she questioned if whether the definition of a woman included her, we as Republicans are echoing the same question. We who are non white are asking “Ain’t I a Republican?” We may not look alike, live in the same neighborhoods, or have attended the same schools but are we not also Republicans? We as Republicans must boldly answer that “you too are Republican.”
Sojourner Truth lead a life that was dedicated to freedom, equality and sharing the gospel. She would become a homeowner and became the first black woman to win a lawsuit against a white man to get freedom for her son that was illegally sold into slavery. She would recruit blacks to fight in the Union Army and would assist in supplying food and other items to the front line. She also remained supportive of women’s suffrage throughout her life.
She lead her life not as a victim but as her namesake described, a sojourner of truth. If she could hear my voice today I would say, aunty Sojourner you were not just a woman, you were a patriot, you were an American!