This article is about the speech by Sojourner Truth. For the book, see Ain't I a Woman? (book) .
"Ain't I a Woman?" is the name given to a speech, delivered extemporaneously, by Sojourner Truth , (1797–1883), born into slavery in New York State. Some time after gaining her freedom in 1827, she became a well known anti-slavery speaker. Her speech was delivered at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio , on May 29, 1851, and did not originally have a title.
The speech was briefly reported in two contemporary newspapers, and a transcript of the speech was published in the Anti-Slavery Bugle on June 21, 1851. It received wider publicity in 1863 during the American Civil War when Frances Dana Barker Gage published a different version, one which became known as Ain't I a Woman? because of its oft-repeated question. This later, better known and more widely available version has been the one referenced by most historians.
"Am I Not a Man and a Brother?" – 1787 medallion designed by Josiah Wedgwood for the British anti-slavery campaign
1830s image of a slave woman saying "Am I Not a Woman and a Sister?"
The phrase "Am I not a man and a brother?" had been used by British abolitionists since the late 18th century to decry the inhumanity of slavery.  This male motto was first turned female in the 1820s by British abolitionists,  then in 1830 the American abolitionist newspaper Genius of Universal Emancipation carried an image of a slave woman asking "Am I not a woman and a sister?"  This image was widely republished in the 1830s, and struck into a copper coin or token, but without the question mark, to give the question a positive answer.  In 1833, African American activist Maria W. Stewart used the words of this motto to argue for the rights of women of every race. Historian Jean Fagan Yellin argued in 1989 that this motto served as inspiration for Sojourner Truth, who was well aware of the great difference in the level of oppression of white versus black women. Truth was asserting both her sex and race by asking the crowd, "Am I not a woman?"  
The first reports of the speech were published by the New York Tribune on June 6, 1851, and by The Liberator five days later. Both of these accounts were brief, lacking a full transcription.  The first complete transcription was published on June 21…