Background & Curriculum
The I AM A VOTER slogan has a long history – stretching back to the 1700’s. Various iterations of the phrase including "I Am A Man" and "Ain't I A Woman" have been used in protest of enslavement and anti-Black racism, and in art and protest signs that reiterate Black humanity and civil rights.
Am I Not A Man and A Brother?
In America and the United Kingdom, the phrase ‘Am I not a man and a brother’ recognized Black humanity in the face of enslavement.
Ain't I A Woman?
In 1851, Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) delivered her speech “Ain’t I a Woman?” at the Women’s Rights Convention held in Akron, Ohio. She built on the phrase ‘Am I not a man and a brother’ – saying ‘And ain’t I a woman?’ in her famous speech. This talk asserted Truth’s humanity as a Black woman.
Sanitation Workers Strike
In 1968, Sanitation workers in Memphis, TN held strikes. The strike was prompted by economic disparity and exploitative working conditions. They carried signs - I AM A MAN - answering the question of Black humanity.
There are many ways educators can incorporate the I AM A VOTER campaign and scholarship competition into their classroom environments. We specifically designed this campaign to work for any educator in any class. Whether it's integrating the I Am A Voter Scholarship Competition into your curriculum as a warm-up activity, extra credit opportunity, or simply presenting the scholarship to your students, you are uniquely positioned to help encourage the next generation of voters to make their voices heard and get out and vote!
Inspire your students.
The following video was prepared by Micah Martin. You are welcome to show it to your class and include it in your I AM A VOTER curriculum. For more information about voting, please visit www.SoulsToThePollsWI.org/vote-center.
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?