Social Justice Activists | Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth, original name Isabella Baumfree, was a major figure for abolitionists and women’s rights activists. It is unknown when she was born, but it is speculated that she would have been born in the year 1797. The lack of a birth date was very common among slaves. A Dutch Patroon in Swatekill, NY within Ulster County owned her and her family, but in 1827, she escaped. Before her escape, she had five children. Of the five children, she managed to leave with one daughter.
In 1829, she moved to New York City, NY, served households, and around the same time embraced the evangelical religion and took on a career as a street corner preacher. During this time, she told stories and sang songs to spread and teach messages of abolition and women’s rights, by 1843 took on the name Sojourner Truth. She also wrote a narrative about her life, which provided a small income for her to live on.
Sojourner Truth is well known for giving speeches about slavery and rights. Her most famous speech is “Ain’t I A Woman?” in 1851, she toured Ohio until 1853. She spoke about the abolitionist movement and women’s right, as well as, challenging abolitionist for not speaking out for equality of black men and women. She was bold and willing to speak about these topics, instead of allowing them to go untouched.
Truth was summoned to Washington D.C in 1864 and was asked to assist with the National Freedman’s Relief Association and at one point; she had met with President Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War, she assisted with obtaining and distributing food and clothing to black soldiers and advocated for black soldier regiments. In 1865, she attempted to sway Congress to provide land grants for former slaves, but unfortunately, she never convinced them.
Sojourner Truth passed away November 26, 1883 and buried in Battle Creek Oak Hill Cemetery in the state of Michigan. She dedicated her life towards abolitionism and women’s rights until her death.
History.com Staff. (2009). Sojourner Truth. Retrieved: http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/sojourner-truth
Biography.com Editors. Sojourner Truth Biography. Retrieved: http://www.biography.com/people/sojourner-truth-9511284#related-video-gallery