Sojourner Truth was born a New York slave in 1797 on the plantation of Colonel Hardenbergh. Her real name was Isabelle VanWagener. She was freed by a new New York law which proclaimed that all slaves twenty-eight years of age and over were to be freed. Isabelle, in her later life, thought she received messages from God. That was how she got her new name, Sojourner Truth. She joined the Anti-Slavery Society and became an abolitionist lecturer and a speaker for women's rights both black and white. One speech for which she became well known for, was called "Ain't I a Woman?". Olive Gilbert, a close friend of Sojourner Truth, wrote a biography of her life, "A Narrative of Sojourner Truth: a Northern Slave". The biography helped her earn money for her trips. She also sold postcards with her picture and her motto below which said, "We Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance". After the Civil War, she gave speeches for equal rights. On November 26, 1883 Sojourner Truth died. Sojourner Truth was different from what was considered to be normal at that time and place. Her determination to help her people was fearless and confident. Truth never gave up when she was being over looked during her speeches. She would always discover some way to get attention from the audience. Truth took many risks to achieve her goal of releasing the blacks. For example she was threatened to be murdered by a few Southerners for many different reasons but Truth stood tall and firm. Although some people said she would never approach her goal of freeing her people, she did. To many people Sojourner Truth was a great leader. Many lives including the Northerners', Southerners', and blacks', and whites', were changed because of her influence. Her daring personality, strong will, and courage helped her make a great and lasting difference in the United States of America.
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