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At Shearer Academy, memorization is a vital aspect of spiritual formation and sharpening our minds. Scripture has much to say about hiding God’s word in your heart and knowing his Word for yourself and for others. Second Timothy 3:14-17 says:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

This year we have committed to memory Psalm 103, Lamentations 3:22-23, Romans 8:38-39, Psalm 19, John 15:1-8, and Psalm 121.

As we study American History this year, we are now turning our attention to noteworthy speeches of this period. My oldest is memorizing a portion of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream,” my second daughter is memorizing “The Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln, and I am working on “Ain’t I a Woman?” by Sojourner Truth. While committing these to memory, we study the historical background and context of the speech, which is always fascinating. Additionally, these speeches provide wisdom and context to our many political and cultural discussions.

Here’s the transcript of Sojourner’s speech, “Aint’ I a Woman?” given at the Women’s Convention in December 1851 in Akron, Ohio.

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.

iTunes has a good recording of the speech at “Every Tone a Testimony” by Various Artists.

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