One of the major issues that we are examining during the Realist period is the fight for women’s rights. In class we will be examining the work of two women – Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth.
Each of these women worked to further the cause of suffrage and the abolitionist movement.
One of the main figureheads of the suffrage movement in America, Stanton wrote the ‘Declaration of Sentiments’, which were presented in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention. Stanton not only fought for women’s right to vote, but also for women’s property rights, employment rights, custody rights, and right to birth control.
In addition to Stanton, Sojourner Truth also worked to support the cause of suffrage and abolition. Born into slavery, Truth would have 13 children (11 of them sold into slavery themselves, never to be seen again) before escaping to freedom. She then took on the role of public speaker, and used her own experience to encourage others not only to support the abolition of slavery but also the equality of women. Though she was illiterate herself, her speaking was clear and powerful. Many different versions of her famous ‘Ain’t I A Woman?’ speech exist today, but all of them share the similarity of tone and passion.
Also, please watch the amazing performance of Truth’s speech, performed at Kansas State University’s 8th Diversity Summit on April 1, 2011 by Ms. Pat Theriault.
BONUS: Did you know that the original document ‘The Declaration of Sentiments’ has been lost? Click here to listen to an AMAZING podcast episode from the ladies over at ‘Stuff You Missed in History Class’ to learn more!
Be sure to watch the second half of the ‘Women in the 19th Century’ Crash Course video below!