Ada took issue with the way the great Sojourner Truth was being held up as ignorant and illiterate. “The manner in which her words are portrayed in some of the pamphlets irks me to no end. She speaks English and Dutch, which is one more language than any of those other women speak.”
Fascinated, Portia admitted, “I didn’t know that.”
“She began life as a Dutch slave. English is not her first language, but to hear the movement’s leaders tell it, she speaks like an unschooled Deep South slave. And why they refuse to allow Colored women in their ranks says a lot about who they are. Especially Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This phrase they’re beginning to use—intelligent suffrage—is designed to leave women of our race on the side of the road. As if they’re the only ones with enough smarts to read a ballot.”
Portia had seen the phrase bandied about in the newspapers. Stanton and some of the other leaders were advancing the notion that a test of some sort be applied to ensure that only women of sound mind be given the vote, which of course everyone knew would be applied specifically to women of color. Stanton was still smarting from Colored men having been given the access to the voting booth ahead of them with the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment. In Portia’s mind, if they were all so keen on an immediate solution they should be advocating a movement to Wyoming Territory where women were given the vote in 1869.