"Ain't I a Woman?" Sojourner Truth
Twelve years later in May 1863,Frances Dana Barker Gage published a very different version. In it, she gave Truth many of thespeech characteristics of Southern slaves, and she inserted newmaterial that Robinson didn't report. Gage's version of the speechwas republished in 1875, 1881 and 1889, and became the historicstandard. This version is known as "Ain't I a Woman?" after the oft-repeated refrain added by Gage.
Truth's own speech pattern wasnot Southern in nature, as she was born and raised in New York, andspoke only Dutch until she was nine years old.
Additions that Gage made to Truth's speech include the ideas thatshe could bear the lash as well as a man, that no one ever offered herthe traditional gentlemanly deference to a woman, and that most of her 13 children were sold away from her into slavery. Truth iswidely believed to have had five children, with one sold away, andwas never known to boast more children.
Further inaccuracies inGage's 1863 recollection of the convention conflict with her owncontemporary report: Gage wrote in 1851 that Akron in general andthe press in particular were largely friendly to the woman's rightsconvention, but in 1863 she wrote that the convention leaders werefearful of the "mobbish" opponents.
Other eyewitness reports of Truth's speech told a different story, one where all faces were"beaming with joyous gladness" at the session where Truth spoke;that not "one discordant note" interrupted the harmony of theproceedings.
In contrast to Gage's later version, Truth was warmlyreceived by the convention-goers, the majority of whom were long-standing abolitionists, friendly to progressive ideas of race and civilrights.