Sojourner Truth

Topics: Abolitionism, Slavery, Slavery in the United States Pages: 3 (919 words) Published: March 30, 2014
Throughout the course of history, there have been a great number of individuals who have made a difference. Many of these people are very well known and famous, while others remain below the public radar. A person who does not receive enough credit is Sojourner Truth, a black woman who lived during the nineteenth century. Sojourner Truth made a difference in the world through the obstacles that she had to overcome in her life and her work as an abolitionist and a woman’s rights activist. A brief look at her history, protest and reasons will give a better understanding of her difference in the world.

Sojourner Truth was born under the name Isabella Baum-free sometime during the year 1797, the exact date remains unknown (Butler, 3). She was born into slavery in the town of Esopus, New York. She was frequently traded between owners, and Truth later recalled many of them to be “cruel and harsh” (Krass 10). In 1815, Truth met a slave on a neighboring farm named Robert. She fell in love with Robert, but Robert’s owner forbade the relationship. She was instead forced to marry an older slave, with whom she had five children: Diana, Thomas, Peter, Elizabeth, and Sophia (Krass 15). Truth finally gained her freedom from slavery in 1826 when she was emancipated by the state of New York (Roop 22). However, she was only able to take her youngest daughter Sophia with her. This is because the New York emancipation laws stated that her other children had to remain in slavery until their twenties (Roop 23). After escaping, she found her way to the home of Isaac and Maria Van Wagner, who took her and her infant son in (Roop 23). While she was staying at the Van Wagner’s, Truth was said to have had “a life changing religious experience” (Yee 9). After this, she became a devout Christian (Yee 9).

On June 1, 1843, Truth changed her name to Sojourner Truth, Sojourner meaning “one who stays briefly” (Connor 4). She then decided to leave to preach about abolition, telling her...
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