The Life of Sojourner Truth

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  • Topic: Slavery, National Women's Rights Convention, Michigan
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The Life of Sojourner Truth

I.Early Life
A.Born a slave in 1797
1.Isabella Van Wagner, in upstate New York
2.She married an older slave and started a family.
B.Sojourner Truth the most famous black female orators
1.She lectured throughout Northeast and Midwest on women's rights, religion and prison reform. 2."Ain't I a Women" speech May 29, 1851
II.Moving to start a new life.
A.The Civil War
1.She nursed soldiers, collected food and clothing for black volunteer regiments 2.The second edition of Truths Narrative
B.Sojourner Truth in her 60's
1.Displayed the energy and determination that was inherent in her character. 2.Saying words of encouragement to black troops stationed in Detroit. III.Meeting Lincoln October 29, 1864
A.National Freedman's Relief Association
1.Appointed her to work as a counselor to freed slaves in Virginia. 2.Filed suits to affirm that black people had legal rights. B.Sojourners journey in the 1870's
1.Her visit with President Grant and the U.S. Senate in 1870 2.Advocating hanging as punishment for murder.

Heather Hawthorne
History 377
Dr. Schmider
October 1,2003
The Life of Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth wasn't just a heroine to blacks, slaves, and women. She was also an abolitionist and a champion of women's rights speaking throughout the country. She acted on her strong feelings about life and the way it should be. But, in my hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan where Sojourner Truth spent her last years, she is known for her powerful speeches that traveled the nation advocating for the fair treatment of freed slaves. Sojourner Truth was born a slave named Isabella Baumfree in upstate New York. Bell, as she was known, spent her youth as a member of several different households, after she was sold to a new master, and separated from her parents at the age of nine. However, she had already received moral and spiritual education from her mother. These lessons formed the basis of her lifetime devotion to religion and reform. Bell was sold two more times, ending up with a wealthy landowner in New York in 1810. There she married an older slave and started a family. New York State had passed a law requiring all slaveholders to free slaves who were Forty years old or older in 1817, and to free all others by 1828. Bells owner promised to release her a year early, but he didn't live up to his word. So, Bell fled with her infant daughter. The Van Wageners, a New York couple who eventually bought her freedom for twenty dollars, took her in. While staying at the Van Wagener's, she learned that her son had illegally been sold out of state. She sued the slave owner and won, becoming the first black women to win a lawsuit against a white man.

In 1829, Truth and her two children moved to Manhattan, where she became involved in a Christian cult, formed around Robert Matthews, who claimed to be God. Bell worked there as a housekeeper and put her life savings into a commune. But, in 1843 after members of the group was poisoned, she grew disillusioned and left New York City. During this time Bell heard voices that she believed to be God's. This awakening led her to change her name to Sojourner Truth and she dedicated herself to a life of urging others to accept Jesus.

Sojourner Truth became one of the most famous black female orators of the nineteenth century. Although she never learned to read or write, she was gifted with a certain charisma that made her effective with her words. It was not unusual for large crowds to attend her informal talks on slavery and women's rights. Since she believed that God wanted her to share her message with as many people as possible, she traveled and lectured for the next forty years. She lived up to her name as the one to bring spiritual enlightenment to as many people as possible. She lectured throughout the Northeast and Midwest, broadening her topics to include not only religion, but also...
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