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Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth was born in 1797, in Hurley N. Y. Sojourner was born into slavery, and was given the name Isabella Baumfree. Sojourner’s parents, were also slaves, in Ulster county N. Y. Because slave trading was very prominent in those days, Sojourner was traded and sold many times throughout her life. Sojourner ran away from slavery before the Emancipation act was published, and decided to change her name to Sojourner Truth. This name bares great meaning, because she intended on telling the truth to all people about slavery.

Sojourner also wanted a religious name, and she felt that this name would best suit her purpose. Sojourner set out on her mission, to educate all people on the subject of slavery, and became a very powerful speaker. She became an influential speaker for women’s rights, as well for the abolishment of slavery all over the country. She became famous for being the first black women to speak out against slavery. Sojourner died at her home in Battle Creek, Michigan on November 26, 1883. She left behind a legacy of ideas and principles for other great black leader to follow.

She will always be remembered for her courage, perseverance, diligence, and patience. Her Birth And Parentage Sojourner Truth, originally named, Isabella Baumfree, was born, between the years 1797. She was the daughter of James and Betsey, slaves of one Colonel Ardinburgh, Hurley, Ulster County, New York. Colonel Ardinburgh belonged to that class of people called Low Dutch. Sojourner can give no account to her first master, because she was a young infant when he died. Sojourner and her parents, along with a number of other slaves, became the property of Charles Ardinburgh, son of the deceased master.

She distinctly remembers hearing her father and mother say, that their lot was a fortunate one, because their new master, Charles, was the best of the family, because he was very kind to his slaves. James and Betsey, by their faithfulness, docility, and respectful behavior, gained favoritism, and received a lot of land. This land lay on the slope of a mountain, on which they managed to raise a little tobacco, corn, or flax, which they exchanged for extras, in the articles of food or clothing for themselves and children.

Who was Sojourner Truth? Sojourner Truth came to Northampton in 1843 to live at the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a utopian community in Florence. She was born a slave in upstate New York in approximately 1797, she labored for a succession of five masters until the Fourth of July, 1827, when slavery was finally abolished in New York State. Then Sojourner Truth, became legally free. After prevailing in a courageous court action demanding the return of her youngest son Peter, who had been illegally sold away from her to a slave owner in Alabama, Sojouner moved to New York City.

There she worked as a housekeeper and became strongly involved in religion. Sojourner Truth had always been very spiritual, and after being emancipated, she had a vision, which was to develop a relationship with God in prayer. After fifteen years in New York, Sojourner Truth felt a call to become a preacher. After she took her new name (Sojourner Truth), and with a little more than the clothes on her back, she set out on her journey walking through Long Island and Connecticut, speaking to people in the countryside about her life and her relationship with God. She was a powerful speaker and singer.

When she rose to speak, wrote one observer, “her commanding figure and dignified manner hushed every trifler to silence. ” Audiences were “melted into tears by her touching stories. ” After several months of traveling, Truth was encouraged by friends to go to the Northampton Association, which had been founded in 1841 as a cooperative community dedicated to abolitionism, pacifism, equality and the betterment of human life. There, she met progressive thinkers like William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass and David Ruggles, and the local abolitionists Samuel Hill, George Benson and Olive Gilbert.

Douglass described her at the time as “a strange compound of wit and wisdom, of wild enthusiasm and flintlike common sense. ” When the association disbanded in 1846, Truth remained in Northampton, moving for the first time into her own home, on Park Street in Florence, with a loan from Samuel Hill. Although Truth never learned to read or write, she dictated her memoirs to Olive Gilbert and they were published in 1850 as The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave. This book, and her presence as a speaker, made her a sought-after figure on the anti-slavery woman’s rights lecture circuit.

Over the next decade she traveled and spoke widely. She is particularly remembered for the famous “Ain’t I A Woman? ” speech she gave at the woman’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio in 1851. Truth moved to Michigan in 1857 and continued her advocacy. After the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, she moved to Washington, D. C. , where, in her late 60’s, she began working with former slaves in the newly created Freedman’s Village. She met with President Lincoln in the White House, where he told her that he had heard her speeches long before.

After the Civil War, she set out on a final crusade to gain support for her dream of a land distribution program for former slaves. This was an idea which, despite her lobbying, Congress refused to enact. Finally she returned to her home in Battle Creek, Michigan, where, surrounded by her family and friends. It is rarely discussed, but Sojourner Truth fought for the desegregation of public transportation in Washington, DC during the Civil War. She refused to face the indignities of Jim Crow segregation on street cars and had the Jim Crow car removed from the Washington D. C. system.

Sojourner Truth brought a local street to a standstill when a driver refused her passage. With the support of the crowd she forced the driver to carry her. During her legendary life, she challenged injustice wherever she saw it. She was an abolitionist, and a women’s rights activist and preacher. Born into slavery in upstate New York, Sojourner Truth obtained her freedom and moved to New York City. There she began to work with organizations designed to assist women. She later became a traveling preacher and quickly developed a reputation as a powerful speaker.

A turning point in her life occurred when she visited the Northhampton Association in Massachusetts. The members of this association included many of the leading abolitionists and women’s rights activists of her time. Among these people Sojourner Truth discussed issues of the day and as a result of these discussions became one of the first people in the country to link the oppression of black slaves with the oppression of women. As a speaker, Sojourner Truth became known for her quick wit and powerful presence.

She would never be intimidated. Because of her powerful speaking ability, independent spirit and her six foot frame, she was often accused of being a man. She ended that in Silver Lake, Indiana when she exposed her breast to the audience that accused her. Sojourner Truth lived a long and productive life. She spoke before Congress and two presidents. Sojourner Truth is best remembered for a speech she gave at a women’s rights conference where she noticed that no one was addressing the rights of Black women.

Her address reads in part: “Dat man ober dar say dat womin needs to be helped over carriages, and lifted ober dicthes and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober muddpuddles, or bigs me any best place. And ain’t I a woman? Look at me Looka at me arm. I have ploughes and planted and gathered into barns, and no mand could head me! And ain’t I a woman. ” Conclusion Sojourner Truth has overcome many obstacles in her life, which have made her the great historical icon that she is today.

She will always be remembered for her courage and bravery that helped make a difference. Sojourner has made many sacrifices in her life that has not only benefited herself, but many others. Sojourner fled from her life of enslavement to find a better life for her and her children. She did whatever she could do to free her children and to keep them safe. After gaining her freedom, Sojourner set out to free others who were enslaved all over the country.

She realized that this would be a difficult task to accomplish on her own, but she knew that there was a higher power that governed us all. She believed and had unmovable faith in the almighty God. Sojourner knew that without God, she would have never been as fortunate as she has. Sojourner gave a whole new meaning to the phrase, “without no struggle, there is no progress. ” She has truly demonstrated the validity of this phrase, because she has struggled to accomplish what she felt God wanted her to do, and for this she will always be honored.

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