June 17, 2020

What She Said: Speaking While Female Speech Bank

Great Speeches , Resources , Significant Speeches

We've been working for a while to find a greater variety of speeches and speakers to study and to reference in our programs. If you're like us, you've probably noticed that most of the "great speeches" you find collected in books were speeches made by white men. 

We've just come across a new resource to help us in our search: the Speaking While Female Speech Bank. There, you'll find familiar contemporary speeches—Oprah's Oscar speech, for example, or Michelle Obama's terrific speech that gave us the line "When they go low, we go high."

Even better, you'll find speeches you haven't heard of before (or at least, we're betting you haven't). We, for example, discovered the anti-slavery speech "Go on! Go on!" made by South Carolina born writer Angelina Grimké.

Writer--and public speaker--Angelina Grimké

Grimké delivered this speech in New York City on May 14, 1863. Here's an excerpt that struck us:

Abolitionists never sought place or power. All they asked was freedom; all they wanted was that the white man should take his foot off the negro’s neck…. As I asked one of my friends one day, “What are you rebelling for? The North never made any laws for you that they have not cheerfully obeyed themselves. What is the trouble between us?” Slavery, slavery is the trouble. Slavery is a “divine institution.” My friends, it is a fact that the South has incorporated slavery into her religion; that is the most fearful thing in this rebellion.

Speeches on the site are organized by category, which helps you discover new speakers and new speeches. You can also search for speakers by name. Some entries provide transcripts. Others link out to YouTube videos. We're excited to add this resource to the excellent one created by Denise Graveline and intend to look to both for new speeches to highlight in the months to come.

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