After spending the first three decades of her life as a slave, Isabella Baumfree took the youngest of her five children and ran away from her master and the man he had forced her to marry. Then, fifteen years later, Baumfree had a vision, changed her name to “Sojourner Truth,” and became active throughout New England speaking out against slavery and for women’s rights.
In the middle of her most famous speech, still quoted more than 150 years after she delivered it, it’s said that she bared her breasts as she announced that she had worked as hard and suffered more than any man. “And ain’t I a woman?” she cried out to grand applause and much cheering.
Then, calling into question a minister’s statement that women should have less rights because Christ was a man, Truth retorted simply, “And where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him!”