February 24, 2015
Response Paper 3
Banded Together in Sisterhood
As a middle class white woman reading these speeches on my couch I feel uncomfortable. I cannot imagine what it must have felt like to be sitting in the audience. Francis Ellen Watkins Harper ended her speech by saying “I tell you that if there is any class of people who need to be lifted out of their airy nothings and selfishness, it is the white women of America”. That must have been difficult to hear. The women who spearheaded the convention in Seneca Falls and many similar to it were in fact the wealthier and privileged women of the country who had husbands that supported their ideas and hope for women. However, at the same time as the women’s suffrage movement women were suffering more than just not being able to vote. Like Sojourner truth and Francis Harper a chunk of American women were being badly treated in public, at home and by their government because of their skin color.
While all three speakers addressed different sides of a Woman’s rights in America with different tones they do have one thing in common and that is that it will take a joint effort of women and men alike to right the wrongs. Fredrick Douglas humbly approaches the conference raising women up and glorifying the effort put into calling attention to the need for change. To me his speech was the least shocking and probably fit in best at the conference. He starts out addressing the convention stating is inadequacy to be addressing them. Douglas had been a strong advocate for women’s suffrage for a long while and was well versed in the issues but he politely turns the attention back to the founding women and to women everywhere. He briefly brings up slavery but does not dwell on it like the other two speeches. I think his speech would have been well received and made very few feel uncomfortable.
Sojourner Truth’s speech in one of my personal favorites and have read several times. She has no problem pointing out the discrepancies between white women and black women. Her point in doing this is to portray that white women are clamoring for the vote when black women are still wondering if they will ever get rights as a human being. Her speech brings home the idea of sisterhood despite skin color, “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?” She is full of fight for women but specifically women of African descent. Her speech and approach to the audience is relatable and likeable but still a bit jarring. She talks about her…