i'm reading this book entitled We Are Your Sisters: Black Women in the Nineteenth Century edited by Dorothy Sterling. and this passage is so badass. i respected her before, but i respect her on a completely different level now. she truly is an amazing woman. this is an excerpt from page 151 from the chapter entitled Women with a Special Mission:
in 1851, when the meeting was held, women did not even dare to bare their ankles. Sojourner, however, proved equal to the challenge.
at the close of the meeting, Dr. T.W. Strain, the mouthpiece of the slave Democracy, requested the large congregation to 'hold on' and stated that a doubt existed in the minds of many persons present respecting the sex of the speaker, and that it was his impression that a majority of them believed the speaker to be a man. the doctor demanded that Sojourner submit her breast to the inspection of some of the ladies present, that the doubt might be removed by their testimony. there were a large number of ladies present, who appeared to be ashamed and indignant at such a proposition.
confusion and uproar ensued, which was soon suppressed by Sojourner, who, immediately rising, asked them why they suspected her to be a man. the democracy answered, "your voice is not the voice of a woman, it is the voice of a man, and we believe you are a man."
Dr. Strain called for a vote, and a boisterous "Aye" was the result. a negative vote was not called for. Sojourner told them that her breasts had suckled many a white babe, to the exclusion of her own offspring and she quietly asked them, as she disrobed her bosom, if they, too, wished to suck! she told them that she would show her breast to the whole congregation; that it was not to her shame that she uncovered her breast before them, but to their shame.