Ain't I a Woman - Sojourner Truth

By: Sinead Williams



This lesson works to compare the struggles of the Abolition movement with those of the Women's Reform movement by studying Ain't I A Woman by the prominant abolitionist of her time - Sojourner Truth.

Keywords: Women's Reform, Sojourner Truth, abolition


Students will:
1. Listen to a famous speech by Sojourrner truth and analyze its meaning,
2. Compare the issue of equality in both the abolition and reform movements of the mid-1800s
2. Identify the purpose of the speech and the impact of Sojourner Truth in American History


Language Arts - Reading Comprehension: The student uses a variety of strategies to comprehend grade level text. (LA.8.1.7)
2. analyze the author’s purpose and/or perspective in a variety of texts and understand how they effect meaning; (LA.
3. determine the main idea or essential message in grade-level or higher texts through inferring, paraphrasing, summarizing, and identifying relevant details; (LA.
Social Studies Standard 1: Use research and inquiry skills to analyze American History using primary and secondary sources. (SS.8.A.1)
5. Identify, within both primary and secondary sources, the author, audience, format, and purpose of significant historical documents. (SS.8.A.1.5)
7. View historic events through the eyes of those who were there as shown in their art, writings, music, and artifacts. (SS.8.A.1.7)


Academic Preparation

Students should be familiar with the abolition and Women's Rights movements of the mid-1800s and the difficulties faced by both groups in their efforts to gain equality in American society.

1. Audio of Ain't I a Woman - see web link
2. Copy of Ain't I A Woman speech - see web link
3. Computer or other device with speakers to listen to audio of speech
4. Primary source analysis handout


Preview activity: Ask students to create a two circle Venn diagram to compare the Abolition movement with the Women's Rights movement of the mid-1800s. Students should identify similarities in the fight for equality for both reform movements and how many abolitionists believed in the Women's fight for equality and how many women fought for the rights of African Americans.
Have students work in pairs. Teachers should assign pairings based on abilitity, knowledge of students.
Direct students to listen actively to the speech. Play the speech in its entirety first, then stop at intervals to discuss what they are hearing. Teacher should check for comprehension and clarify where needed. After a whole class discussion distribute the text version of the speech and replay the speech again. Students will now follow along with the text as they listen once more to the audio version.
Students should then work in their pairings to complete the primary source analysis handout.


Formal: Venn Diagram completion, Primary Source Analysis Handout completion
Informal: Class discussion, teacher observations

Estimated Lesson Duration

2hr 00min