It is hard to disagree that communication solves many problems, and words are the incredible power of humans. For any speech to be effective, influential, and relevant, it also has to be rhetorical, which implies proper and suitable language usage. In 1851, Sojourner Truth, who was a former slave and abolitionist, gave her logical and rather emotional speech on African-American and women’s rights, and it is still remembered all over the world.
The Circumstances of the Speech
Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in New York State but finally gained freedom in 1827. After that, she decided to fight for other women’s rights and became a famous anti-slavery speaker (“Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I A Woman?”). On May 29, 1851, she spoke out at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, and tried to convince all people that both black and white women should be treated as equal to men. On June 21, 1851, the Anti-Slavery Bugle published the transcript of the speech, and in 1863, its other version titled “Ain’t I a Woman?” received wider publicity.
Logical Language of the Speech
In her speech, Sojourner Truth not only tells people that women must have rights but appeals to logic and proves her statement by providing examples and parallels and reminding of God and the Bible. It sounds rather logical that if women are as strong and capable of working as men, they also need as much food and water as their brothers and husbands (Kennedy and Rhodes 2). Equality needs to be in all spheres of life, and there is no difference between white and black persons.
Ethical Language of the Speech
Throughout her speech, Sojourner Truth mentions men rather politely and respectfully, and none of her words are aimed at making them angry or hurting their feelings. She also mentions that it is safe to grant women their rights because they do not need and will not demand more or take what belongs to men. Sojourner Truth’s speech’s language is as ethical as possible, and she chooses the words quite carefully.
Emotional Language of the Speech
To be heard and listened to, Sojourner Truth appeals to emotions and feelings and tries to influence them while delivering her speech. She mentions that most of her children were taken to slavery, and she cried out with her mother’s grief but was not heard (“Sojourner’s Words and Music”). This moment of her life may affect other women who have or had children, as well as men who are fathers, brothers, and sons, and can imagine losing a child.
To conclude, one may say that this speech is rather effective and relevant even nowadays. Though the current situation is much better since slavery was eliminated in most countries, and women have almost as many rights as men, there are still problems that cannot be solved. Therefore, considering that the elimination of slavery means that people have power and compassion, it is possible to finally achieve complete equality between white and black persons.
Kennedy, Bernice Roberts, and Chalice C. Rhodes. “African American Women and Domestic Violence: Addressing their Voice of Silence.” BRK Global Healthcare Journal, vol. 3, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1-28.
“Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I A Woman?” National Park Service, 2017, Web.
“Sojourner’s Words and Music.” Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee, 2020. Web.