Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth

Overview
Sojourner Truth was the self-given name, from 1843 onward, of Isabella Baumfree, an African-American abolitionist
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 and women's rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

 activist. Truth was born into slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 in Swartekill, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. Her best-known extemporaneous speech on racial inequalities, Ain't I a Woman?, was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio
Akron, Ohio
Akron , is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Summit County. It is located in the Great Lakes region approximately south of Lake Erie along the Little Cuyahoga River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 199,110. The Akron Metropolitan...

.
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Quotations

That little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Jesus 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.

Encyclopedia
Sojourner Truth was the self-given name, from 1843 onward, of Isabella Baumfree, an African-American abolitionist
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 and women's rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

 activist. Truth was born into slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 in Swartekill, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. Her best-known extemporaneous speech on racial inequalities, Ain't I a Woman?, was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio
Akron, Ohio
Akron , is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Summit County. It is located in the Great Lakes region approximately south of Lake Erie along the Little Cuyahoga River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 199,110. The Akron Metropolitan...

. During the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

; after the war, Truth tried unsuccessfully to secure land grant
Land grant
A land grant is a gift of real estate – land or its privileges – made by a government or other authority as a reward for services to an individual, especially in return for military service...

s from the federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 for former slaves.

Early years



Truth was one of "ten or twelve" children born to James and Elizabeth Baumfree. James Baumfree was a slave captured from the Gold Coast
Gold Coast (British colony)
The Gold Coast was a British colony on the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa that became the independent nation of Ghana in 1957.-Overview:The first Europeans to arrive at the coast were the Portuguese in 1471. They encountered a variety of African kingdoms, some of which controlled substantial...

 in modern-day Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

. Elizabeth Baumfree, also known as Mau-Mau Bet to children who knew her, was the daughter of African slaves from the Coast of Guinea
Guinea
Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

. The Baumfree family were slaves of Colonel Hardenbergh. The Hardenbergh estate was in a hilly area called by the Dutch name Swartekill (just north of present-day Rifton
Rifton, New York
Rifton is a hamlet in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 501 at the 2000 census.Rifton is near the west town line of the Town of Esopus on Route 213.-History:...

), in the town of Esopus
Esopus, New York
Esopus is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 9,331 at the 2000 census. The name comes from the local Indian tribe and means "high banks."...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, 95 miles north of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. After the colonel's death, ownership of the family slaves passed to his son, Charles Hardenbergh.

After the death of Charles Hardenbergh in 1806, Truth, known as Belle, was sold at an auction. She was about 9 years old and was included with a flock of sheep for $100 to John Neely, near Kingston, New York
Kingston, New York
Kingston is a city in and the county seat of Ulster County, New York, USA. It is north of New York City and south of Albany. It became New York's first capital in 1777, and was burned by the British Oct. 16, 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga...

. Until she was sold, Truth spoke only Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

. She suffered many hardships at the hands of Neely, whom she later described as cruel and harsh and who once beat her with a bundle of rods. Truth previously said Neely beat her daily. Neely sold her in 1808, for $105, to Martinus Schryver of Port Ewen
Port Ewen, New York
Port Ewen is a hamlet in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 3,650 at the 2000 census.Port Ewen is in the Town of Esopus, south of Kingston, New York, along U.S...

, a tavern keeper, who owned her for 18 months. Schryver sold her in 1810, for $175, to John Dumont of West Park, New York
West Park, New York
West Park is a hamlet on the west side of the Hudson River in the Town of Esopus, Ulster County, New York, United States.Holy Cross Monastery, an Anglican monastery of the Order of the Holy Cross, is located in West Park....

. Although this fourth owner was kindly disposed toward her, his wife found numerous ways to harass Truth and make her life more difficult.

Around 1815, Truth met and fell in love with a slave named Robert from a neighboring farm. Robert's owner (Catlin) forbade the relationship; he did not want his slave to have children with a slave he did not own, because he would not own the children. Robert was savagely beaten and Truth never saw him again. Later, he died from the aforementioned injuries.
In 1817, Truth was forced by Dumont to marry an older slave named Thomas. She had five children: Diana (1815), fathered by Robert; and Thomas who died shortly after birth, Peter (1821), Elizabeth (1825), and Sophia (ca. 1826), fathered by Thomas.

Freedom


The state of New York began, in 1799, to legislate the abolition of slavery, although the process of emancipating New York slaves was not complete until July 4, 1827. Dumont had promised to grant Truth her freedom a year before the state emancipation, "if she would do well and be faithful." However, he changed his mind, claiming a hand injury had made her less productive. She was infuriated but continued working, spinning 100 pounds of wool, to satisfy her sense of obligation to him.

Late in 1826, Truth escaped to freedom with her infant daughter, Sophia. She had to leave her other children behind because they were not legally freed in the emancipation order until they had served as bound servants into their twenties. She later said:
She found her way to the home of Isaac and Maria Van Wagener, who took her and her baby in. Isaac offered to buy her services for the remainder of the year (until the state's emancipation took effect), which Dumont accepted for $20. She lived there until the New York State Emancipation Act was approved a year later.

Truth learned that her son Peter, then five years old, had been sold illegally by Dumont to an owner in Alabama. With the help of the Van Wageners, she took the issue to court and, after months of legal proceedings, got back her son, who had been abused by his new owner. Truth became one of the first black women to go to court against a white man and win the case. See also Elizabeth Freeman

Truth had a life-changing religious experience during her stay with the Van Wageners, and became a devout Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

. In 1829 she moved with her son Peter to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, where she worked as a housekeeper for Elijah Pierson, a Christian Evangelist. In 1832, she met Robert Matthews, also known as Matthias Kingdom or Prophet Matthias, and went to work for him as a housekeeper. In a bizarre twist of fate, Elijah Pierson died, and Robert Matthews and Truth were accused of stealing from and poisoning him. Both were acquitted and Robert Matthews moved west.

In 1839, Truth's son Peter took a job on a whaling ship called the Zone of Nantucket. From 1840 to 1841, she received three letters from him, though in his third letter he told her he had sent five. When the ship returned to port in 1842, Peter was not on board and Truth never heard from him again.

"The Truth Calls Me"


On June 1, 1843, Truth changed her name to Sojourner Truth and told her friends, "The Spirit calls me, and I must go." She became a Methodist, and left to make her way traveling and preaching about the abolition of slavery. In 1844, she joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry in Northampton, Massachusetts
Northampton, Massachusetts
The city of Northampton is the county seat of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of Northampton's central neighborhoods, was 28,549...

. Founded by abolitionists, the organization supported women's rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

 and religious tolerance as well as pacifism
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

. There were 210 members and they lived on 500 acres (2 km²), raising livestock, running a sawmill
Sawmill
A sawmill is a facility where logs are cut into boards.-Sawmill process:A sawmill's basic operation is much like those of hundreds of years ago; a log enters on one end and dimensional lumber exits on the other end....

, a gristmill
Gristmill
The terms gristmill or grist mill can refer either to a building in which grain is ground into flour, or to the grinding mechanism itself.- Early history :...

, and a silk factory. While there, Truth met William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he promoted "immediate emancipation" of slaves in the United...

, Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing...

, and David Ruggles
David Ruggles
David Ruggles was an anti-slavery activist who was active in the New York Committee of Vigilance and the Underground Railroad. He was an "African-American printer in New York City during the 1830s", who "was the prototype for black activist journalists of his time"...

. In 1846, the group disbanded, unable to support itself. In 1847, she went to work as a housekeeper for George Benson
George Benson (Quaker)
George William Benson was an American Quaker abolitionist from Connecticut who assisted Prudence Crandall in her education efforts. His father George Benson was also active in opposing slavery. He was one of the founders of the utopian Northampton Association, and was the brother-in-law of...

, the brother-in-law of William Lloyd Garrison. In 1849, she visited John Dumont before he moved west.

Truth started dictating her memoirs to her friend Olive Gilbert, and in 1850 William Lloyd Garrison privately published her book, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave. That same year, she purchased a home in Northampton for $300, and spoke at the first National Women's Rights Convention
National Women's Rights Convention
The National Women's Rights Convention was an annual series of meetings that increased the visibility of the early women's rights movement in the United States. First held in 1850 in Worcester, Massachusetts, the National Women's Rights Convention combined both male and female leadership, and...

 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

"Ain't I a Woman?"



In 1851, Truth left Northampton to join George Thompson
George Thompson (abolitionist)
George Donisthorpe Thompson was a British antislavery orator and activist who worked toward the abolition of slavery through lecture tours and legislation while serving as a Member of Parliament...

, an abolitionist and speaker. In May, she attended the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio
Akron, Ohio
Akron , is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Summit County. It is located in the Great Lakes region approximately south of Lake Erie along the Little Cuyahoga River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 199,110. The Akron Metropolitan...

 where she delivered her famous extemporaneous speech on racial inequalities, later known as "Ain't I a Woman". The convention was organized by Hannah Tracy
Hannah Tracy Cutler
Hannah Maria Conant Tracy Cutler was an abolitionist as well as a leader of the temperance and women's suffrage movements in the United States. Cutler served as president of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association...

 and Frances Dana Barker Gage
Frances Dana Barker Gage
Frances Dana Barker Gage was a leading American reformer, feminist and abolitionist. She worked closely with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, along with other leaders of the early women's rights movement in the United States...

, who both were present when Truth spoke. Different versions of Truth's words have been recorded, with the first one published a month later by Marius Robinson, a newspaper owner and editor who was in the audience. Robinson's recounting of the speech included no instance of the question "Ain't I a Woman?" Twelve years later in May 1863, Gage published another, very different, version. In it, Truth's speech pattern had characteristics of Southern slaves, and the speech included sentences and phrases that Robinson didn't report. Gage's version of the speech became the historic standard, and is known as "Ain't I a Woman?" because that question was repeated four times. Truth's own speech pattern was not Southern in nature, as she was born and raised in New York, and spoke only Dutch until she was nine years old.

In contrast to Robinson's report, Gage's 1863 version included Truth saying her 13 children were sold away from her into slavery. Truth is widely believed to have had five children, with one sold away, and was never known to boast more children. Gage's 1863 recollection of the convention conflicts with her own report directly after the convention: Gage wrote in 1851 that Akron in general and the press in particular were largely friendly to the woman's rights convention, but in 1863 she wrote that the convention leaders were fearful of the "mobbish" opponents. Other eyewitness reports of Truth's speech told a calm story, one where all faces were "beaming with joyous gladness" at the session where Truth spoke; that not "one discordant note" interrupted the harmony of the proceedings. In contemporary reports, Truth was warmly received by the convention-goers, the majority of whom were long-standing abolitionists, friendly to progressive ideas of race and civil rights. In Gage's 1863 version, Truth was met with hisses, with voices calling to prevent her from speaking.

Over the next decade, Truth spoke before dozens, perhaps hundreds, of audiences. From 1851 to 1853, Truth worked with Marius Robinson, the editor of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Bugle, and traveled around that state speaking. In 1853, she spoke at a suffragist
Women's suffrage
Women's suffrage or woman suffrage is the right of women to vote and to run for office. The expression is also used for the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending these rights to women and without any restrictions or qualifications such as property ownership, payment of tax, or...

 "mob convention" at the Broadway Tabernacle in New York City; that year she also met Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was a depiction of life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom...

. In 1856, she traveled to Battle Creek
Battle Creek, Michigan
Battle Creek is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, in northwest Calhoun County, at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers. It is the principal city of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area , which encompasses all of Calhoun county...

, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, to speak to a group called the Friends of Human Progress. In 1858, someone interrupted a speech and accused her of being a man; Truth opened her blouse and revealed her breasts.

Other Notable Speeches


Mob Convention- September 7, 1853: At the convention, young men greeted her with “a perfect storm,” hissing and groaning. In response, Truth said, “You may hiss as much as you please, but women will get their rights anyway. You can’t stop us, neither”. Sojourner, like other public speakers, often adapted her speeches to how the audience was responding to her. In her speech, Sojourner speaks out for women’s rights. She incorporates religious references in her speech, particularly the story of Esther
Esther
Esther , born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther.According to the Bible, she was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus...

 . She then goes on to say that, just as women in scripture, women today are fighting for their rights. Moreover, Sojourner scolds the crowd for all their hissing and rude behavior, reminding them that God says to “Honor thy father and thy mother.”

American Equal Rights Association- May 9-10, 1867: Her speech is addressed to the American Equal Rights Association, and divided into three sessions. Sojourner is received with loud cheers instead of hisses with a better-formed reputation established. The Call had advertised her name as one of the main convention speakers.
For the first part of her speech, she speaks mainly about the rights of black women. Sojourner argues that because the push for equal rights has led to black men winning new rights, now is the best time to give black women the rights they deserve too. Throughout her speech she keeps stressing that “we should keep things going while things are stirring” and fears that once the fight for colored rights settles down, it will take a long time to warm people back up to the idea of colored women’s having equal rights.

In the second sessions of Sojourner’s speech, she utilizes a story from the Bible to help strengthen her argument for equal rights for women. She ends her argument by accusing men of being self-centered, saying, “man is so selfish that he has got women’s rights and his own too, and yet he won’t give women their rights. He keeps them all to himself.”
For the final session of Sojourner’s speech, the center of her attention is mainly on women’s right to vote. Sojourner tells her audience that she owns her own house, as did other women, and must therefore pay taxes. Nevertheless, they are still unable to vote because they are women. Black women who were slaves were made to do hard manual work, such as building roads. Sojourner argues that if these women were able to perform such tasks, then they should be allowed to vote because surely voting is easier than building roads.

Eighth Anniversary of Negro Freedom -New Year’s Day, 1871: On this occasion the Boston papers related that “…seldom is there an occasion of more attraction or greater general interest. Every available space of sitting and standing room was crowded”. She starts off her speech by giving a little background about her own life. Sojourner recounts how her mother told her to pray to God that she may have good masters and mistresses. She goes on to retell how her masters were not good to her, about how she was whipped for not understanding English, and how she would question God why he had not made her masters be good to her. Sojourner admits to the audience that she had once hated white people, but she says once she met her final master, Jesus, she was filled with love for everyone. Once slaves were emancipated, she tells the crowd she knew her prayers had been answered.
That last part of Sojourners’ speech brings in her main focus. Some freed slaves were living on government aid at that time, paid for by taxpayers. Sojourner announces that this is not any better for those colored people than it is for the members of her audience. She then proposes that black people are given their own land. Because a portion of the South’s population contained rebels that were unhappy with the abolishment of slavery, that region of the United States was not well suited for colored people. She goes on to suggest that colored people be given land out west to build homes and prosper on.

On a mission


Truth sold her home in Northampton in 1857 and bought a house in Harmonia, Michigan, just west of Battle Creek. According to the 1860 census
United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...

, her household in Harmonia included her daughter, Elizabeth Banks (age 35), and her grandsons James Caldwell (misspelled as "Colvin"; age 16) and Sammy Banks (age 8).

Sojourner Truth (icon; – November 26, 1883) was the self-given name, from 1843 onward, of Isabella Baumfree, an African-American abolitionist
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 and women's rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

 activist. Truth was born into slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 in Swartekill, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. Her best-known extemporaneous speech on racial inequalities, Ain't I a Woman?, was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio
Akron, Ohio
Akron , is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Summit County. It is located in the Great Lakes region approximately south of Lake Erie along the Little Cuyahoga River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 199,110. The Akron Metropolitan...

. During the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

; after the war, Truth tried unsuccessfully to secure land grant
Land grant
A land grant is a gift of real estate – land or its privileges – made by a government or other authority as a reward for services to an individual, especially in return for military service...

s from the federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 for former slaves.

Early years



Truth was one of "ten or twelve" children born to James and Elizabeth Baumfree. James Baumfree was a slave captured from the Gold Coast
Gold Coast (British colony)
The Gold Coast was a British colony on the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa that became the independent nation of Ghana in 1957.-Overview:The first Europeans to arrive at the coast were the Portuguese in 1471. They encountered a variety of African kingdoms, some of which controlled substantial...

 in modern-day Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

. Elizabeth Baumfree, also known as Mau-Mau Bet to children who knew her, was the daughter of African slaves from the Coast of Guinea
Guinea
Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

. The Baumfree family were slaves of Colonel Hardenbergh. The Hardenbergh estate was in a hilly area called by the Dutch name Swartekill (just north of present-day Rifton
Rifton, New York
Rifton is a hamlet in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 501 at the 2000 census.Rifton is near the west town line of the Town of Esopus on Route 213.-History:...

), in the town of Esopus
Esopus, New York
Esopus is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 9,331 at the 2000 census. The name comes from the local Indian tribe and means "high banks."...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, 95 miles north of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. After the colonel's death, ownership of the family slaves passed to his son, Charles Hardenbergh.

After the death of Charles Hardenbergh in 1806, Truth, known as Belle, was sold at an auction. She was about 9 years old and was included with a flock of sheep for $100 to John Neely, near Kingston, New York
Kingston, New York
Kingston is a city in and the county seat of Ulster County, New York, USA. It is north of New York City and south of Albany. It became New York's first capital in 1777, and was burned by the British Oct. 16, 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga...

. Until she was sold, Truth spoke only Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

. She suffered many hardships at the hands of Neely, whom she later described as cruel and harsh and who once beat her with a bundle of rods. Truth previously said Neely beat her daily. Neely sold her in 1808, for $105, to Martinus Schryver of Port Ewen
Port Ewen, New York
Port Ewen is a hamlet in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 3,650 at the 2000 census.Port Ewen is in the Town of Esopus, south of Kingston, New York, along U.S...

, a tavern keeper, who owned her for 18 months. Schryver sold her in 1810, for $175, to John Dumont of West Park, New York
West Park, New York
West Park is a hamlet on the west side of the Hudson River in the Town of Esopus, Ulster County, New York, United States.Holy Cross Monastery, an Anglican monastery of the Order of the Holy Cross, is located in West Park....

. Although this fourth owner was kindly disposed toward her, his wife found numerous ways to harass Truth and make her life more difficult.

Around 1815, Truth met and fell in love with a slave named Robert from a neighboring farm. Robert's owner (Catlin) forbade the relationship; he did not want his slave to have children with a slave he did not own, because he would not own the children. Robert was savagely beaten and Truth never saw him again. Later, he died from the aforementioned injuries.
In 1817, Truth was forced by Dumont to marry an older slave named Thomas. She had five children: Diana (1815), fathered by Robert; and Thomas who died shortly after birth, Peter (1821), Elizabeth (1825), and Sophia (ca. 1826), fathered by Thomas.

Freedom


The state of New York began, in 1799, to legislate the abolition of slavery, although the process of emancipating New York slaves was not complete until July 4, 1827. Dumont had promised to grant Truth her freedom a year before the state emancipation, "if she would do well and be faithful." However, he changed his mind, claiming a hand injury had made her less productive. She was infuriated but continued working, spinning 100 pounds of wool, to satisfy her sense of obligation to him.

Late in 1826, Truth escaped to freedom with her infant daughter, Sophia. She had to leave her other children behind because they were not legally freed in the emancipation order until they had served as bound servants into their twenties. She later said:
She found her way to the home of Isaac and Maria Van Wagener, who took her and her baby in. Isaac offered to buy her services for the remainder of the year (until the state's emancipation took effect), which Dumont accepted for $20. She lived there until the New York State Emancipation Act was approved a year later.

Truth learned that her son Peter, then five years old, had been sold illegally by Dumont to an owner in Alabama. With the help of the Van Wageners, she took the issue to court and, after months of legal proceedings, got back her son, who had been abused by his new owner. Truth became one of the first black women to go to court against a white man and win the case. See also Elizabeth Freeman

Truth had a life-changing religious experience during her stay with the Van Wageners, and became a devout Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

. In 1829 she moved with her son Peter to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, where she worked as a housekeeper for Elijah Pierson, a Christian Evangelist. In 1832, she met Robert Matthews, also known as Matthias Kingdom or Prophet Matthias, and went to work for him as a housekeeper. In a bizarre twist of fate, Elijah Pierson died, and Robert Matthews and Truth were accused of stealing from and poisoning him. Both were acquitted and Robert Matthews moved west.

In 1839, Truth's son Peter took a job on a whaling ship called the Zone of Nantucket. From 1840 to 1841, she received three letters from him, though in his third letter he told her he had sent five. When the ship returned to port in 1842, Peter was not on board and Truth never heard from him again.

"The Truth Calls Me"


On June 1, 1843, Truth changed her name to Sojourner Truth and told her friends, "The Spirit calls me, and I must go." She became a Methodist, and left to make her way traveling and preaching about the abolition of slavery. In 1844, she joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry in Northampton, Massachusetts
Northampton, Massachusetts
The city of Northampton is the county seat of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of Northampton's central neighborhoods, was 28,549...

. Founded by abolitionists, the organization supported women's rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

 and religious tolerance as well as pacifism
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

. There were 210 members and they lived on 500 acres (2 km²), raising livestock, running a sawmill
Sawmill
A sawmill is a facility where logs are cut into boards.-Sawmill process:A sawmill's basic operation is much like those of hundreds of years ago; a log enters on one end and dimensional lumber exits on the other end....

, a gristmill
Gristmill
The terms gristmill or grist mill can refer either to a building in which grain is ground into flour, or to the grinding mechanism itself.- Early history :...

, and a silk factory. While there, Truth met William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he promoted "immediate emancipation" of slaves in the United...

, Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing...

, and David Ruggles
David Ruggles
David Ruggles was an anti-slavery activist who was active in the New York Committee of Vigilance and the Underground Railroad. He was an "African-American printer in New York City during the 1830s", who "was the prototype for black activist journalists of his time"...

. In 1846, the group disbanded, unable to support itself. In 1847, she went to work as a housekeeper for George Benson
George Benson (Quaker)
George William Benson was an American Quaker abolitionist from Connecticut who assisted Prudence Crandall in her education efforts. His father George Benson was also active in opposing slavery. He was one of the founders of the utopian Northampton Association, and was the brother-in-law of...

, the brother-in-law of William Lloyd Garrison. In 1849, she visited John Dumont before he moved west.

Truth started dictating her memoirs to her friend Olive Gilbert, and in 1850 William Lloyd Garrison privately published her book, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave. That same year, she purchased a home in Northampton for $300, and spoke at the first National Women's Rights Convention
National Women's Rights Convention
The National Women's Rights Convention was an annual series of meetings that increased the visibility of the early women's rights movement in the United States. First held in 1850 in Worcester, Massachusetts, the National Women's Rights Convention combined both male and female leadership, and...

 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

"Ain't I a Woman?"



In 1851, Truth left Northampton to join George Thompson
George Thompson (abolitionist)
George Donisthorpe Thompson was a British antislavery orator and activist who worked toward the abolition of slavery through lecture tours and legislation while serving as a Member of Parliament...

, an abolitionist and speaker. In May, she attended the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio
Akron, Ohio
Akron , is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Summit County. It is located in the Great Lakes region approximately south of Lake Erie along the Little Cuyahoga River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 199,110. The Akron Metropolitan...

 where she delivered her famous extemporaneous speech on racial inequalities, later known as "Ain't I a Woman". The convention was organized by Hannah Tracy
Hannah Tracy Cutler
Hannah Maria Conant Tracy Cutler was an abolitionist as well as a leader of the temperance and women's suffrage movements in the United States. Cutler served as president of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association...

 and Frances Dana Barker Gage
Frances Dana Barker Gage
Frances Dana Barker Gage was a leading American reformer, feminist and abolitionist. She worked closely with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, along with other leaders of the early women's rights movement in the United States...

, who both were present when Truth spoke. Different versions of Truth's words have been recorded, with the first one published a month later by Marius Robinson, a newspaper owner and editor who was in the audience. Robinson's recounting of the speech included no instance of the question "Ain't I a Woman?" Twelve years later in May 1863, Gage published another, very different, version. In it, Truth's speech pattern had characteristics of Southern slaves, and the speech included sentences and phrases that Robinson didn't report. Gage's version of the speech became the historic standard, and is known as "Ain't I a Woman?" because that question was repeated four times. Truth's own speech pattern was not Southern in nature, as she was born and raised in New York, and spoke only Dutch until she was nine years old.

In contrast to Robinson's report, Gage's 1863 version included Truth saying her 13 children were sold away from her into slavery. Truth is widely believed to have had five children, with one sold away, and was never known to boast more children. Gage's 1863 recollection of the convention conflicts with her own report directly after the convention: Gage wrote in 1851 that Akron in general and the press in particular were largely friendly to the woman's rights convention, but in 1863 she wrote that the convention leaders were fearful of the "mobbish" opponents. Other eyewitness reports of Truth's speech told a calm story, one where all faces were "beaming with joyous gladness" at the session where Truth spoke; that not "one discordant note" interrupted the harmony of the proceedings. In contemporary reports, Truth was warmly received by the convention-goers, the majority of whom were long-standing abolitionists, friendly to progressive ideas of race and civil rights. In Gage's 1863 version, Truth was met with hisses, with voices calling to prevent her from speaking.

Over the next decade, Truth spoke before dozens, perhaps hundreds, of audiences. From 1851 to 1853, Truth worked with Marius Robinson, the editor of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Bugle, and traveled around that state speaking. In 1853, she spoke at a suffragist
Women's suffrage
Women's suffrage or woman suffrage is the right of women to vote and to run for office. The expression is also used for the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending these rights to women and without any restrictions or qualifications such as property ownership, payment of tax, or...

 "mob convention" at the Broadway Tabernacle in New York City; that year she also met Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was a depiction of life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom...

. In 1856, she traveled to Battle Creek
Battle Creek, Michigan
Battle Creek is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, in northwest Calhoun County, at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers. It is the principal city of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area , which encompasses all of Calhoun county...

, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, to speak to a group called the Friends of Human Progress. In 1858, someone interrupted a speech and accused her of being a man; Truth opened her blouse and revealed her breasts.

Other Notable Speeches


Mob Convention- September 7, 1853: At the convention, young men greeted her with “a perfect storm,” hissing and groaning. In response, Truth said, “You may hiss as much as you please, but women will get their rights anyway. You can’t stop us, neither”. Sojourner, like other public speakers, often adapted her speeches to how the audience was responding to her. In her speech, Sojourner speaks out for women’s rights. She incorporates religious references in her speech, particularly the story of Esther
Esther
Esther , born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther.According to the Bible, she was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus...

 . She then goes on to say that, just as women in scripture, women today are fighting for their rights. Moreover, Sojourner scolds the crowd for all their hissing and rude behavior, reminding them that God says to “Honor thy father and thy mother.”

American Equal Rights Association- May 9-10, 1867: Her speech is addressed to the American Equal Rights Association, and divided into three sessions. Sojourner is received with loud cheers instead of hisses with a better-formed reputation established. The Call had advertised her name as one of the main convention speakers.
For the first part of her speech, she speaks mainly about the rights of black women. Sojourner argues that because the push for equal rights has led to black men winning new rights, now is the best time to give black women the rights they deserve too. Throughout her speech she keeps stressing that “we should keep things going while things are stirring” and fears that once the fight for colored rights settles down, it will take a long time to warm people back up to the idea of colored women’s having equal rights.

In the second sessions of Sojourner’s speech, she utilizes a story from the Bible to help strengthen her argument for equal rights for women. She ends her argument by accusing men of being self-centered, saying, “man is so selfish that he has got women’s rights and his own too, and yet he won’t give women their rights. He keeps them all to himself.”
For the final session of Sojourner’s speech, the center of her attention is mainly on women’s right to vote. Sojourner tells her audience that she owns her own house, as did other women, and must therefore pay taxes. Nevertheless, they are still unable to vote because they are women. Black women who were slaves were made to do hard manual work, such as building roads. Sojourner argues that if these women were able to perform such tasks, then they should be allowed to vote because surely voting is easier than building roads.

Eighth Anniversary of Negro Freedom -New Year’s Day, 1871: On this occasion the Boston papers related that “…seldom is there an occasion of more attraction or greater general interest. Every available space of sitting and standing room was crowded”. She starts off her speech by giving a little background about her own life. Sojourner recounts how her mother told her to pray to God that she may have good masters and mistresses. She goes on to retell how her masters were not good to her, about how she was whipped for not understanding English, and how she would question God why he had not made her masters be good to her. Sojourner admits to the audience that she had once hated white people, but she says once she met her final master, Jesus, she was filled with love for everyone. Once slaves were emancipated, she tells the crowd she knew her prayers had been answered.
That last part of Sojourners’ speech brings in her main focus. Some freed slaves were living on government aid at that time, paid for by taxpayers. Sojourner announces that this is not any better for those colored people than it is for the members of her audience. She then proposes that black people are given their own land. Because a portion of the South’s population contained rebels that were unhappy with the abolishment of slavery, that region of the United States was not well suited for colored people. She goes on to suggest that colored people be given land out west to build homes and prosper on.

On a mission


Truth sold her home in Northampton in 1857 and bought a house in Harmonia, Michigan, just west of Battle Creek. According to the 1860 census
United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...

, her household in Harmonia included her daughter, Elizabeth Banks (age 35), and her grandsons James Caldwell (misspelled as "Colvin"; age 16) and Sammy Banks (age 8).

Sojourner Truth (icon; – November 26, 1883) was the self-given name, from 1843 onward, of Isabella Baumfree, an African-American abolitionist
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 and women's rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

 activist. Truth was born into slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 in Swartekill, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. Her best-known extemporaneous speech on racial inequalities, Ain't I a Woman?, was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio
Akron, Ohio
Akron , is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Summit County. It is located in the Great Lakes region approximately south of Lake Erie along the Little Cuyahoga River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 199,110. The Akron Metropolitan...

. During the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

; after the war, Truth tried unsuccessfully to secure land grant
Land grant
A land grant is a gift of real estate – land or its privileges – made by a government or other authority as a reward for services to an individual, especially in return for military service...

s from the federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 for former slaves.

Early years



Truth was one of "ten or twelve" children born to James and Elizabeth Baumfree. James Baumfree was a slave captured from the Gold Coast
Gold Coast (British colony)
The Gold Coast was a British colony on the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa that became the independent nation of Ghana in 1957.-Overview:The first Europeans to arrive at the coast were the Portuguese in 1471. They encountered a variety of African kingdoms, some of which controlled substantial...

 in modern-day Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

. Elizabeth Baumfree, also known as Mau-Mau Bet to children who knew her, was the daughter of African slaves from the Coast of Guinea
Guinea
Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

. The Baumfree family were slaves of Colonel Hardenbergh. The Hardenbergh estate was in a hilly area called by the Dutch name Swartekill (just north of present-day Rifton
Rifton, New York
Rifton is a hamlet in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 501 at the 2000 census.Rifton is near the west town line of the Town of Esopus on Route 213.-History:...

), in the town of Esopus
Esopus, New York
Esopus is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 9,331 at the 2000 census. The name comes from the local Indian tribe and means "high banks."...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, 95 miles north of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. After the colonel's death, ownership of the family slaves passed to his son, Charles Hardenbergh.

After the death of Charles Hardenbergh in 1806, Truth, known as Belle, was sold at an auction. She was about 9 years old and was included with a flock of sheep for $100 to John Neely, near Kingston, New York
Kingston, New York
Kingston is a city in and the county seat of Ulster County, New York, USA. It is north of New York City and south of Albany. It became New York's first capital in 1777, and was burned by the British Oct. 16, 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga...

. Until she was sold, Truth spoke only Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

. She suffered many hardships at the hands of Neely, whom she later described as cruel and harsh and who once beat her with a bundle of rods. Truth previously said Neely beat her daily. Neely sold her in 1808, for $105, to Martinus Schryver of Port Ewen
Port Ewen, New York
Port Ewen is a hamlet in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 3,650 at the 2000 census.Port Ewen is in the Town of Esopus, south of Kingston, New York, along U.S...

, a tavern keeper, who owned her for 18 months. Schryver sold her in 1810, for $175, to John Dumont of West Park, New York
West Park, New York
West Park is a hamlet on the west side of the Hudson River in the Town of Esopus, Ulster County, New York, United States.Holy Cross Monastery, an Anglican monastery of the Order of the Holy Cross, is located in West Park....

. Although this fourth owner was kindly disposed toward her, his wife found numerous ways to harass Truth and make her life more difficult.

Around 1815, Truth met and fell in love with a slave named Robert from a neighboring farm. Robert's owner (Catlin) forbade the relationship; he did not want his slave to have children with a slave he did not own, because he would not own the children. Robert was savagely beaten and Truth never saw him again. Later, he died from the aforementioned injuries.
In 1817, Truth was forced by Dumont to marry an older slave named Thomas. She had five children: Diana (1815), fathered by Robert; and Thomas who died shortly after birth, Peter (1821), Elizabeth (1825), and Sophia (ca. 1826), fathered by Thomas.

Freedom


The state of New York began, in 1799, to legislate the abolition of slavery, although the process of emancipating New York slaves was not complete until July 4, 1827. Dumont had promised to grant Truth her freedom a year before the state emancipation, "if she would do well and be faithful." However, he changed his mind, claiming a hand injury had made her less productive. She was infuriated but continued working, spinning 100 pounds of wool, to satisfy her sense of obligation to him.

Late in 1826, Truth escaped to freedom with her infant daughter, Sophia. She had to leave her other children behind because they were not legally freed in the emancipation order until they had served as bound servants into their twenties. She later said:
She found her way to the home of Isaac and Maria Van Wagener, who took her and her baby in. Isaac offered to buy her services for the remainder of the year (until the state's emancipation took effect), which Dumont accepted for $20. She lived there until the New York State Emancipation Act was approved a year later.

Truth learned that her son Peter, then five years old, had been sold illegally by Dumont to an owner in Alabama. With the help of the Van Wageners, she took the issue to court and, after months of legal proceedings, got back her son, who had been abused by his new owner. Truth became one of the first black women to go to court against a white man and win the case. See also Elizabeth Freeman

Truth had a life-changing religious experience during her stay with the Van Wageners, and became a devout Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

. In 1829 she moved with her son Peter to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, where she worked as a housekeeper for Elijah Pierson, a Christian Evangelist. In 1832, she met Robert Matthews, also known as Matthias Kingdom or Prophet Matthias, and went to work for him as a housekeeper. In a bizarre twist of fate, Elijah Pierson died, and Robert Matthews and Truth were accused of stealing from and poisoning him. Both were acquitted and Robert Matthews moved west.

In 1839, Truth's son Peter took a job on a whaling ship called the Zone of Nantucket. From 1840 to 1841, she received three letters from him, though in his third letter he told her he had sent five. When the ship returned to port in 1842, Peter was not on board and Truth never heard from him again.

"The Truth Calls Me"


On June 1, 1843, Truth changed her name to Sojourner Truth and told her friends, "The Spirit calls me, and I must go." She became a Methodist, and left to make her way traveling and preaching about the abolition of slavery. In 1844, she joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry in Northampton, Massachusetts
Northampton, Massachusetts
The city of Northampton is the county seat of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of Northampton's central neighborhoods, was 28,549...

. Founded by abolitionists, the organization supported women's rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

 and religious tolerance as well as pacifism
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

. There were 210 members and they lived on 500 acres (2 km²), raising livestock, running a sawmill
Sawmill
A sawmill is a facility where logs are cut into boards.-Sawmill process:A sawmill's basic operation is much like those of hundreds of years ago; a log enters on one end and dimensional lumber exits on the other end....

, a gristmill
Gristmill
The terms gristmill or grist mill can refer either to a building in which grain is ground into flour, or to the grinding mechanism itself.- Early history :...

, and a silk factory. While there, Truth met William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he promoted "immediate emancipation" of slaves in the United...

, Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing...

, and David Ruggles
David Ruggles
David Ruggles was an anti-slavery activist who was active in the New York Committee of Vigilance and the Underground Railroad. He was an "African-American printer in New York City during the 1830s", who "was the prototype for black activist journalists of his time"...

. In 1846, the group disbanded, unable to support itself. In 1847, she went to work as a housekeeper for George Benson
George Benson (Quaker)
George William Benson was an American Quaker abolitionist from Connecticut who assisted Prudence Crandall in her education efforts. His father George Benson was also active in opposing slavery. He was one of the founders of the utopian Northampton Association, and was the brother-in-law of...

, the brother-in-law of William Lloyd Garrison. In 1849, she visited John Dumont before he moved west.

Truth started dictating her memoirs to her friend Olive Gilbert, and in 1850 William Lloyd Garrison privately published her book, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave. That same year, she purchased a home in Northampton for $300, and spoke at the first National Women's Rights Convention
National Women's Rights Convention
The National Women's Rights Convention was an annual series of meetings that increased the visibility of the early women's rights movement in the United States. First held in 1850 in Worcester, Massachusetts, the National Women's Rights Convention combined both male and female leadership, and...

 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

"Ain't I a Woman?"



In 1851, Truth left Northampton to join George Thompson
George Thompson (abolitionist)
George Donisthorpe Thompson was a British antislavery orator and activist who worked toward the abolition of slavery through lecture tours and legislation while serving as a Member of Parliament...

, an abolitionist and speaker. In May, she attended the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio
Akron, Ohio
Akron , is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Summit County. It is located in the Great Lakes region approximately south of Lake Erie along the Little Cuyahoga River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 199,110. The Akron Metropolitan...

 where she delivered her famous extemporaneous speech on racial inequalities, later known as "Ain't I a Woman". The convention was organized by Hannah Tracy
Hannah Tracy Cutler
Hannah Maria Conant Tracy Cutler was an abolitionist as well as a leader of the temperance and women's suffrage movements in the United States. Cutler served as president of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association...

 and Frances Dana Barker Gage
Frances Dana Barker Gage
Frances Dana Barker Gage was a leading American reformer, feminist and abolitionist. She worked closely with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, along with other leaders of the early women's rights movement in the United States...

, who both were present when Truth spoke. Different versions of Truth's words have been recorded, with the first one published a month later by Marius Robinson, a newspaper owner and editor who was in the audience. Robinson's recounting of the speech included no instance of the question "Ain't I a Woman?" Twelve years later in May 1863, Gage published another, very different, version. In it, Truth's speech pattern had characteristics of Southern slaves, and the speech included sentences and phrases that Robinson didn't report. Gage's version of the speech became the historic standard, and is known as "Ain't I a Woman?" because that question was repeated four times. Truth's own speech pattern was not Southern in nature, as she was born and raised in New York, and spoke only Dutch until she was nine years old.

In contrast to Robinson's report, Gage's 1863 version included Truth saying her 13 children were sold away from her into slavery. Truth is widely believed to have had five children, with one sold away, and was never known to boast more children. Gage's 1863 recollection of the convention conflicts with her own report directly after the convention: Gage wrote in 1851 that Akron in general and the press in particular were largely friendly to the woman's rights convention, but in 1863 she wrote that the convention leaders were fearful of the "mobbish" opponents. Other eyewitness reports of Truth's speech told a calm story, one where all faces were "beaming with joyous gladness" at the session where Truth spoke; that not "one discordant note" interrupted the harmony of the proceedings. In contemporary reports, Truth was warmly received by the convention-goers, the majority of whom were long-standing abolitionists, friendly to progressive ideas of race and civil rights. In Gage's 1863 version, Truth was met with hisses, with voices calling to prevent her from speaking.

Over the next decade, Truth spoke before dozens, perhaps hundreds, of audiences. From 1851 to 1853, Truth worked with Marius Robinson, the editor of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Bugle, and traveled around that state speaking. In 1853, she spoke at a suffragist
Women's suffrage
Women's suffrage or woman suffrage is the right of women to vote and to run for office. The expression is also used for the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending these rights to women and without any restrictions or qualifications such as property ownership, payment of tax, or...

 "mob convention" at the Broadway Tabernacle in New York City; that year she also met Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was a depiction of life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom...

. In 1856, she traveled to Battle Creek
Battle Creek, Michigan
Battle Creek is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, in northwest Calhoun County, at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers. It is the principal city of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area , which encompasses all of Calhoun county...

, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, to speak to a group called the Friends of Human Progress. In 1858, someone interrupted a speech and accused her of being a man; Truth opened her blouse and revealed her breasts.

Other Notable Speeches


Mob Convention- September 7, 1853: At the convention, young men greeted her with “a perfect storm,” hissing and groaning. In response, Truth said, “You may hiss as much as you please, but women will get their rights anyway. You can’t stop us, neither”. Sojourner, like other public speakers, often adapted her speeches to how the audience was responding to her. In her speech, Sojourner speaks out for women’s rights. She incorporates religious references in her speech, particularly the story of Esther
Esther
Esther , born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther.According to the Bible, she was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus...

 . She then goes on to say that, just as women in scripture, women today are fighting for their rights. Moreover, Sojourner scolds the crowd for all their hissing and rude behavior, reminding them that God says to “Honor thy father and thy mother.”

American Equal Rights Association- May 9-10, 1867: Her speech is addressed to the American Equal Rights Association, and divided into three sessions. Sojourner is received with loud cheers instead of hisses with a better-formed reputation established. The Call had advertised her name as one of the main convention speakers.
For the first part of her speech, she speaks mainly about the rights of black women. Sojourner argues that because the push for equal rights has led to black men winning new rights, now is the best time to give black women the rights they deserve too. Throughout her speech she keeps stressing that “we should keep things going while things are stirring” and fears that once the fight for colored rights settles down, it will take a long time to warm people back up to the idea of colored women’s having equal rights.

In the second sessions of Sojourner’s speech, she utilizes a story from the Bible to help strengthen her argument for equal rights for women. She ends her argument by accusing men of being self-centered, saying, “man is so selfish that he has got women’s rights and his own too, and yet he won’t give women their rights. He keeps them all to himself.”
For the final session of Sojourner’s speech, the center of her attention is mainly on women’s right to vote. Sojourner tells her audience that she owns her own house, as did other women, and must therefore pay taxes. Nevertheless, they are still unable to vote because they are women. Black women who were slaves were made to do hard manual work, such as building roads. Sojourner argues that if these women were able to perform such tasks, then they should be allowed to vote because surely voting is easier than building roads.

Eighth Anniversary of Negro Freedom -New Year’s Day, 1871: On this occasion the Boston papers related that “…seldom is there an occasion of more attraction or greater general interest. Every available space of sitting and standing room was crowded”. She starts off her speech by giving a little background about her own life. Sojourner recounts how her mother told her to pray to God that she may have good masters and mistresses. She goes on to retell how her masters were not good to her, about how she was whipped for not understanding English, and how she would question God why he had not made her masters be good to her. Sojourner admits to the audience that she had once hated white people, but she says once she met her final master, Jesus, she was filled with love for everyone. Once slaves were emancipated, she tells the crowd she knew her prayers had been answered.
That last part of Sojourners’ speech brings in her main focus. Some freed slaves were living on government aid at that time, paid for by taxpayers. Sojourner announces that this is not any better for those colored people than it is for the members of her audience. She then proposes that black people are given their own land. Because a portion of the South’s population contained rebels that were unhappy with the abolishment of slavery, that region of the United States was not well suited for colored people. She goes on to suggest that colored people be given land out west to build homes and prosper on.

On a mission


Truth sold her home in Northampton in 1857 and bought a house in Harmonia, Michigan, just west of Battle Creek. According to the 1860 census
United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...

, her household in Harmonia included her daughter, Elizabeth Banks (age 35), and her grandsons James Caldwell (misspelled as "Colvin"; age 16) and Sammy Banks (age 8).


During the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

. Her grandson, James Caldwell, enlisted in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. In 1864, Truth was employed by the National Freedman's Relief Association in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, where she worked diligently to improve conditions for African-Americans. In October of that year, she met President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

. In 1865, while working at the Freedman's Hospital
Freedman's Hospital
Forerunner of the Howard University Hospital, Freedmen's Hospital served the black community in the District of Columbia for more than a century. First established in 1862 on the grounds of the Camp Barker, 13th and R Streets, NW, Freedmen's Hospital and Asylum cared for freed, disabled, and aged...

 in Washington, Truth rode in the streetcars to help force their desegregation
Desegregation
Desegregation is the process of ending the separation of two groups usually referring to races. This is most commonly used in reference to the United States. Desegregation was long a focus of the American Civil Rights Movement, both before and after the United States Supreme Court's decision in...

.

Truth is credited with writing a song, "The Valiant Soldiers", for the 1st Michigan Colored Regiment
102nd Regiment United States Colored Troops
The 102nd Regiment United States Colored Troops was an African American infantry unit of the Union Army during the American Civil War. The unit was organized as the 1st Michigan Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment before being redesignated as the 102nd Regiment USCT.-History:The 1st Michigan...

; it was said to be composed during the war and sung by her in Detroit and Washington, D.C. It is sung to the tune of "John Brown's Body
John Brown's Body
"John Brown's Body" is an American marching song about the abolitionist John Brown. The song was popular in the Union during the American Civil War. The tune arose out of the folk hymn tradition of the American camp meeting movement of the 19th century...

" or "The Battle Hymn of the Republic
The Battle Hymn of the Republic
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" is a hymn by American writer Julia Ward Howe using the music from the song "John Brown's Body". Howe's more famous lyrics were written in November 1861 and first published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. It became popular during the American Civil War...

". Although Truth claimed to have written the words, it has been disputed (see Marching Song of the First Arkansas
Marching Song of the First Arkansas
"Marching Song of the First Arkansas Colored Regiment" is one of the few Civil War-era songs inspired by the lyrical structure of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and the tune of "John Brown's Body" that is still performed and recorded today...

).

In 1867, Truth moved from Harmonia to Battle Creek. In 1868, she traveled to western New York and visited with Amy Post, and continued traveling all over the East Coast
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

. At a speaking engagement in Florence, Massachusetts
Florence, Massachusetts
Florence is a village in the northwestern portion of the city of Northampton, near Westhampton and Williamsburg in the U.S. state of Massachusetts.-The naming of Florence, Massachusetts:The name "Florence" was suggested by neurologist Dr...

, after she had just returned from a very tiring trip, when Truth was called upon to speak she stood up and said,
In 1870, Truth tried to secure land grant
Land grant
A land grant is a gift of real estate – land or its privileges – made by a government or other authority as a reward for services to an individual, especially in return for military service...

s from the federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 to former slaves, a project she pursued for seven years without success. While in Washington, D.C., she had a meeting with President Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 in the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

. In 1872, she returned to Battle Creek and tried to vote in the presidential election, but was turned away at the polling place.

Truth spoke about abolition, women's rights, prison reform, and preached to the Michigan Legislature against capital punishment. Not everyone welcomed her preaching and lectures, but she had many friends and staunch support among many influential people at the time, including Amy Post, Parker Pillsbury
Parker Pillsbury
Parker Pillsbury was an American minister and advocate for abolition and women's rights.Pillsbury was born in Hamilton, Massachusetts...

, Frances Gage, Wendell Phillips
Wendell Phillips
Wendell Phillips was an American abolitionist, advocate for Native Americans, and orator. He was an exceptional orator and agitator, advocate and lawyer, writer and debater.-Education:...

, William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he promoted "immediate emancipation" of slaves in the United...

, Laura Smith Haviland
Laura Smith Haviland
Laura Smith Haviland was an American abolitionist, suffragette, and social reformer. She was an important figure in the history of the Underground Railroad.-Early years and family:...

, Lucretia Mott
Lucretia Mott
Lucretia Coffin Mott was an American Quaker, abolitionist, social reformer, and proponent of women's rights.- Early life and education:...

, and Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony
Susan Brownell Anthony was a prominent American civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the 19th century women's rights movement to introduce women's suffrage into the United States. She was co-founder of the first Women's Temperance Movement with Elizabeth Cady Stanton as President...

."

Several days before Truth died, a reporter came from the Grand Rapids Eagle to interview her. "Her face was drawn and emaciated and she was apparently suffering great pain. Her eyes were very bright and mind alert although it was difficult for her to talk." Truth died on November 26, 1883, at her home in Battle Creek, Michigan, and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Battle Creek, beside other family members.

Cultural references

  • 1862 -- William Wetmore Story
    William Wetmore Story
    William Wetmore Story was an American sculptor, art critic, poet and editor.-Biography:William Wetmore Story was the son of jurist Joseph Story and Sarah Waldo Story...

    's statue, "The Libyan Sibyl", inspired by Sojourner Truth, won an award at the London World Exhibition.
  • 1892—Albion artist Frank Courter is commissioned to paint the meeting between Truth and President Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

    .
  • 1981—Truth is inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame
    National Women's Hall of Fame
    The National Women's Hall of Fame is an American institution. It was created in 1969 by a group of people in Seneca Falls, New York, the location of the 1848 Women's Rights Convention...

     in Seneca Falls, New York.
  • 1981—Feminist theorist and author bell hooks
    Bell hooks
    Gloria Jean Watkins , better known by her pen name bell hooks, is an American author, feminist, and social activist....

    titles her first major work
    Ain't I a Woman? (book)
    Ain't I a Woman?: Black women and feminism is a 1981 book by bell hooks titled after Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" speech, ISBN 0-89608-129-X. hooks examines the effect of racism and sexism on black women, the civil rights movement, and feminist movements from suffrage to the seventies...

     after Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" speech.

  • 1983—Truth is in the first group of women inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame
    Michigan Women's Hall of Fame
    The Michigan Women's Hall of Fame honors distinguished women, both historical and contemporary, who have been associated with the U.S. state of Michigan. It is housed in the Michigan Women's Historical Center and Hall of Fame building, located at 213 W. Malcolm X St. in downtown Lansing, Michigan...

     in Lansing.
  • 1986 -- U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp
    Postage stamp
    A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

     honoring Sojourner Truth.
  • 1997—The NASA
    NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

     Mars Pathfinder
    Mars Pathfinder
    Mars Pathfinder was an American spacecraft that landed a base station with roving probe on Mars in 1997. It consisted of a lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station, and a lightweight wheeled robotic rover named Sojourner.Launched on December 4, 1996 by NASA aboard a Delta II booster a...

     mission's robotic rover was named "Sojourner" after her.
  • 1998 -- S.T. Writes Home appears on the web offering "Letters to Mom from Sojourner Truth," in which the Mars Pathfinder Rover at times echoes its namesake.
  • 1999—The Broadway musical The Civil War
    The Civil War (musical)
    The Civil War is a musical written by Gregory Boyd and Frank Wildhorn, with lyrics by Jack Murphy and music by Wildhorn. The musical centers on the American Civil War, with the musical numbers portraying the war through Union, Confederate, and slave viewpoints. The musical was nominated for a Tony...

     includes Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman. On the 1999 cast recording, it was performed by Maya Angelou
    Maya Angelou
    Maya Angelou is an American author and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first and most highly...

    .
  • The leftist group the Sojourner Truth Organization
    Sojourner Truth Organization
    Sojourner Truth Organization was a new communist organization, which came into existence in the winter of 1969-70. Throughout its fifteen year existence , it existed mainly in the Midwest and oriented towards organization in the workplace...

     is named after her.
  • The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...

     commemorates her as a renewer of society on March 10, with Harriet Tubman
    Harriet Tubman
    Harriet Tubman Harriet Tubman Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Harriet Ross; (1820 – 1913) was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War. After escaping from slavery, into which she was born, she made thirteen missions to rescue more than 70 slaves...

    .
  • In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante
    Molefi Kete Asante
    Molefi Kete Asante is an African-American scholar, historian, and philosopher. He is a leading figure in the fields of African American studies, African Studies and Communication Studies...

     listed Sojourner Truth on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans
    100 Greatest African Americans
    100 Greatest African Americans is a biographical dictionary of the one hundred historically greatest African Americans , as assessed by Molefi Kete Asante in 2002.-Criteria:...

    .
  • 2004 -- The King's College, located inside the Empire State Building
    Empire State Building
    The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet , and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft high. Its name is derived...

     in New York City, has a house system (modeled after Oxford University's), and each house is named after an influential leader. In 2004, they voted to name one of the houses 'The House of Sojourner Truth'.
  • She is commemorated in a monument of "Michigan Legal Milestones" erected by the State Bar of Michigan
    State Bar of Michigan
    The State Bar of Michigan is an organization of lawyers in the State of Michigan. Membership is mandatory for attorneys who practice law in the state of Michigan...

    .
  • She is also commemorated together with Elizabeth Cady Stanton
    Elizabeth Cady Stanton
    Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an American social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early woman's movement...

    , Amelia Bloomer
    Amelia Bloomer
    Amelia Jenks Bloomer was an American women's rights and temperance advocate. Even though she did not create the women's clothing reform style known as bloomers, her name became associated with it because of her early and strong advocacy.-Early life:Bloomer came from a family of modest means and...

     and Harriet Ross Tubman
    Harriet Tubman
    Harriet Tubman Harriet Tubman Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Harriet Ross; (1820 – 1913) was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War. After escaping from slavery, into which she was born, she made thirteen missions to rescue more than 70 slaves...

     in the calendar of saints
    Calendar of saints (Episcopal Church in the United States of America)
    The veneration of saints in the Episcopal Church is a continuation of an ancient tradition from the early Church which honors important people of the Christian faith. The usage of the term "saint" is similar to Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Those in the Anglo-Catholic tradition may...

     of the Episcopal Church on July 20.
  • The Library at the State University of New York at New Paltz
    State University of New York at New Paltz
    The State University of New York at New Paltz, known as SUNY New Paltz for short, is a public university in New Paltz, New York. It was founded in 1828 as the School for teaching of classics. In 1885, the New Paltz Normal and Training School was established as a school to prepare teachers for the...

    , in New Paltz, New York
    New Paltz (village), New York
    New Paltz is a village in Ulster County in the U.S. state of New York. It is about north of New York City and south of Albany. The population was 6,818 at the 2010 census.The Village of New Paltz is located within the Town of New Paltz...

    , is named in her honor.
  • 2009—The first black woman honored with a bust
    Bust (sculpture)
    A bust is a sculpted or cast representation of the upper part of the human figure, depicting a person's head and neck, as well as a variable portion of the chest and shoulders. The piece is normally supported by a plinth. These forms recreate the likeness of an individual...

     in the US Capitol. The bust was sculpted by noted artist Artis Lane
    Artis Lane
    Artis Lane is an award-winning Black Canadian sculptor and painter. She is an immigrant from Ontario, Canada, and was born and raised in a community populated by the descendants of slaves who came to Canada on the Underground Railroad.The St...

    .

Books


  • Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave (1850).
    • Dover Publications
      Dover Publications
      Dover Publications is an American book publisher founded in 1941 by Hayward Cirker and his wife, Blanche. It publishes primarily reissues, books no longer published by their original publishers. These are often, but not always, books in the public domain. The original published editions may be...

       1997 edition: ISBN 0-486-29899-X
    • Penguin Classics 1998 edition: ISBN 0-14-043678-2. Introduction & notes by Nell Irvin Painter.
    • University of Pennsylvania
      University of Pennsylvania
      The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

       online edition (html
      HTML
      HyperText Markup Language is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML elements are the basic building-blocks of webpages....

       format, one chapter per page)
    • University of Virginia
      University of Virginia
      The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

       online edition (HTML format, 207 kB, entire book on one page)
  • Alison Piepmeier, Out in Public: Configurations of Women's Bodies in Nineteenth-Century America The University of North Carolina Press, 2004) ISBN 0-80-785569-3
  • Paul E. Johnson and Sean Wilentz, The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , 1994) ISBN 0-19-509835-8
  • Carleton Mabee with Susan Mabee Newhouse, Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend (New York and London: New York University Press, 1993) ISBN 0-8147-5525-9
  • Nell Irvin Painter, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Co., 1996) ISBN 0-393-31708-0
  • Jacqueline Sheehan, Truth: A Novel (New York: Free Press
    Free Press (publisher)
    Free Press is a book publishing imprint of Simon and Schuster. It was founded by Jeremiah Kaplan and Charles Liebman in 1947 and was devoted to sociology and religion titles. It was headquartered in Glencoe, Illinois, where it was known as The Free Press of Glencoe...

    , 2003) ISBN 0-7432-4444-3
  • Erlene Stetson and Linda David, Glorying in Tribulation: The Lifework of Sojourner Truth (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press
    Michigan State University Press
    Michigan State University Press, founded in 1947, is the scholarly publishing arm of Michigan State University. During the past six decades it has become a vital part of the institution's land-grant mission and is a catalyst for positive intellectual, social, and technological change through the...

    , 1994) ISBN 0-87013-337-3
  • Michael Warren Williams, The African American encyclopedia, Volume 6, Marshall Cavendish Corp., 1993, ISBN 1854355511
  • William Leete Stone
    William Leete Stone, Sr.
    William Leete Stone was a journalist and historical writer mostly on topics relating to the American Revolutionary War.-Biography:...

    , Matthias and his Impostures- or, The Progress of Fanaticism (New York, 1835) Internet Archive online edition (pdf format, 16.9 MB, entire book on one pdf)
  • Gilbert Vale, Fanaticism - Its Source and Influence Illustrated by the Simple Narrative of Isabella, in the Case of Matthias, Mr. and Mrs. B. Folger, Mr. Pierson, Mr. Mills, Catherine, Isabella, &c. &c. (New York, 1835) Google Books online edition (pdf format, 9.9 MB, entire book on one pdf or one page per page)

External links