Sojourner Truth once declared, at the Women’s Rights Convention in 1851, “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again” (“Sojourner Truth” Encyclopedia). This statement brought a wave of protest from the men in the crowd and left most women with renewed hope for receiving equal rights. Sojourner Truth was a woman’s rights activist and African American abolitionist, on top of being a freed slave. Sojourner Truth had the “worst of both worlds” being that she was African American, and also a woman. She spoke at a countless amount of conventions, largely inspired by Lucrietta Mott. Rather than using weapons, Truth would use her incredible talent of speech to get her points across. Truth was an extremely opinionated woman who would not give up on an issue until she thought the result was satisfactory. Without Sojourner Truth’s hard work and dedication to the issues that she cared about, America would not be shaped today how it is (“Sojourner Truth” Encyclopedia). 1. Her Early Life
Sojourner Truth, with a birth name of Isabella Baumfree, was born on an unknown date of 1787 in Swartekill, New York. Born into slavery to James and Elizabeth Baumfree, the family of at least fifteen was owned by the Hardenbergh in Esopus, New York. Sojourner Truth was sold for the first time at age nine to a violent man, getting separated from the rest of her family. In 1815, Sojourner Truth fell in love with a slave on a neighboring farm and had a child, but their love was forbidden and the two never saw each other again. Truth was then forced to marry another slave and they had three children together (“Sojourner Truth” 2013). Sojourner Truth faced many hardships at such a young age that contributed to her lifelong stance against slavery. 2. Her Road to Fame
In 1799, New York successfully negotiated the abolition of slaves. Sojourner Truth’s master went back on his word and kept Truth and her children as slaves until she escaped with her youngest daughter in 1826. Truth constantly prayed to God to let her children, if they were to be sold, to remain in nearby plantations. Her prayers didn’t omit, for her son was illegally sold to a slave owner in Alabama. Outraged, Truth had external help from New York Quakers to take the issue to court. Though she was at an utter disadvantage because of her race and gender, Sojourner Truth walked out of the United States courthouse with her son safely returned. Truth was one of the first African Americans to go to court against a white man and leave with success (Mentzer).
Sojourner Truth was extremely devoted to her Methodist religion and would do anything to preach God’s word. Often, she would stand on the streets of New York with her children to sing and praise their Lord in the hopes of converting someone. After her son had departed for a job at sea, Truth became an active member of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry located in Northampton, Massachusetts. The main goal of the group was to work on a wide-range of issues that were important to the members. Truth’s main focus was women’s rights and the abolition of slavery throughout all of America. Members were all extremely close-knit and lived together on 500 acres of land. Here she met William Lloyd Garrison, whom would later publish her now-famous memoirs named “The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave.” The group of people separated in 1846, but the community gave Sojourner Truth enough confidence to begin speeches on her own (“Sojourner Truth” 2013). 3. Her Work
Sojourner Truth gave such powerful, eloquent speeches and was so opinionated that citizens around her actually questioned whether or not she was a woman. One of Truth’s earliest works was her book of memoirs published by Garrison that shared, and often exaggerated, Sojourner Truth herself. The memoir brought a steady income for Truth,...
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