School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program
Truth Tea Party
By: Heather Cagle
During this lesson students will use biographical information about Sojourner Truth, in order to
understand her speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” Each student will be given a line from the children’s book
Let it Shine- Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighter. Students will conduct a Tea Party activity
through rotating and sharing their line of the story with each of their different partners. After
rotating, students will meet with their partner to create a summary of the story. The class will then
analyze Truth’s speech using the biographical information attained from the story to explain Truth’s
point of view. Students can also learn some of the arguments against women’s rights.
The Truth Tea Party lesson can be used for a variety of topics. This lesson could be used during Black
History Month to teach the students about a significant African American in American history. Also,
this lesson could be used when teaching about the women’s suffrage or rights’ movements.
Suggested Grade Level
Upper Elementary (4-5) and Middle (6-8)
Estimated Time to Complete
-Students will be able to make inferences from text.
-Students will be able to relate biographical information to the comprehension of a primary source.
-Students will be able to explain some of the arguments against women’s rights.
-Students will be able to describe one significant African American in history.
Common Core Standards- Literacy in History
Key Ideas and Details
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite
specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Craft and Structure
4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical,
connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of
the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to
compare the approaches the authors take.
A copy of the 26 statements (cut apart)
Book- Let It Shine by Andrea Pinkney
(Pinkney, Andrea. Let It Shine Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters. Hong Kong: Gulliver Books, 2000. 1-8.)
“Ain’t I a Woman” Text
Before the Lesson
Arrange desks in pairs
-Starter- Ask students “How many of you like to work puzzles?” Then ask them why puzzles are fun. -
Make a list of the reasons why on the board. Explain that the activity that they are going to do is a
puzzle using words. (This should help to keep them less frustrated during the activity)
-Tea Party Activity-Have every student take out one sheet of paper and give each student one
statement. During the activity one student of the pair will rotate to another group to share their
statement. Decide which of the students will be rotating (either the right or the left person of the
- Give each student 1:30-2 minutes with each partner. Have students share their statement and draw
an inference about the story from only the information given writing it on their sheet of paper(ex-
Belle’s Skin was as black as the blackest ebony wood- Belle is a character and she is black, maybe
African or African American).
-Students can rotate to meet with everyone, or only a set number (7 rotations should be sufficient).
-Have students return to their original seats. With their original partner give students 4-5 minutes,
have students compare information and write a gist summary of the story. (This could be done whole
class if students are struggling).
-Call on several students to share their summaries.
-If time permits, read students the short biographical story from Andrea Pinkney’s Let It Shine.
Compare the student’s summary to the story from the book.
- Then project the text of “AIN'T I A WOMAN?” by Sojourner Truth. Read the speech aloud, stopping
and discussing each chunk of the text.
-To conclude, ask students how knowing about the author helped them to understand the speech.
Also have them identify certain words from the text of the speech that would have helped them, if
they had not previously read the story.
Correlations to SVPDP Curricula (Optional)
We The People Text- Lesson 25
Statements for Truth Tea Party
Belle’s Skin was as black as the blackest ebony wood
Belle and her family lived on Charles Hardenberg’s tobacco
farm […] along the Hudson River in Hurley, New York
She knew she was more that a piece of merchandise
Belle worked long and hard days, busting firewood, shucking
Somebody could buy you right up and take you away from
the people you loved
On a twilit morning in 1826, she ran away
Belle traveled to New York City and worked as a maid- a paid
Belle couldn’t read or write, but she often asked others to
read the Bible to her
“Get yourself a new name, child. Live up to that name by
preaching what’s real and what’s right”
Sojourner Truth- a traveler who’s telling it like it is
Abolitionists believed slavery was evil
The issue of slavery had become a boiling kettle of
controversy throughout the United States
She spoke at church gatherings, abolitionists assemblies,
women’s rights rallies, and prayer meetings
She was scheduled to speak at a lecture hall in a midwestern
town, someone threatened to burn down the hall
In 1852 Sojourner attended a women’s rights convention in
One minister said women didn’t deserve the same as men
because women were just plain weak.
Another preacher declared that women must be inferior
because God made Jesus a man
her mighty words set the room still
Ain’t I a woman?
You say women need to be helped into carriages and lifted
over ditches. Nobody’s ever helped me.
Jesus came from God and a woman. Man had nothing to do
Speaking up and out was her God-given gift
Suppose a man’s mind holds a quart and a woman’s a pint; if
her pint is full, it’s as good as a quart.
Belle was free to keep the vow she’d made to herself […]
help black folks find equality
she would fight to put an end to slavery’s ugly way
she was ever tall- a stately six feet by the time she was
thirteen years old
AIN'T I A WOMAN?
By Sojourner Truth
Delivered 1851 at the Women's Convention 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
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.