Speech to the AERA

By Camryn Harris

"Speech to the American Equal Rights Association" was given by Sojourner Truth in New York City on May 9, 1867. Sojourner Truth was an African American woman that was formerly a slave; this speech was given slightly after the slaves were freed. She is ranting to the American Equal Rights Association about the fact that it was only the colored men that were beginning to get rights. She explains how black women are paid less than black men for the same amount of work, that they are beginning to gain voices in court and the women are not, etc. She is clearly determined to gain equal rights for women of color as well as men of color.
A prime example of figurative language is found in the first paragraph, when Truth said she wants slavery "root and branch destroyed". This is a metaphor to describe that she wants every trace of slavery and racism to be gone. In the fourth paragraph, a rhetorical device is included in the form of an anecdote. She told a story of when she used to work in the fields binding grain and received only about half of the pay men did for the same work.
The author's purpose in the text is to inform that though the slaves were freed, they are still not valued equally, even to each other. The females are valued lower than the males. Her call to action is for more African American women like her to continue pushing for equal rights. I believe her use of figurative and descriptive language makes her style of writing unique and easily understandable through imagery.