Sojourner Truth

by Gabriella Snell

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What were her contributions to changing slavery and gaining women's rights?

Life During Enslavement

Isabella Baumfree was born into slavery in Hurley, New York in around 1797. She grew up with her family, apart from the siblings that were already sold, until she was about nine when she was sold away from her family. She was sold again when she was about eleven, where she stayed for many years. While she was there she fell in love with a slave from a different farm. His master broke them apart when he found out that she was pregnant with his child. She was later persuaded to marry an older slave on the same plantation, and with him she had three kids. The state of New York was working on passing an emancipation law, Isabella was supposed to be given freedom from slavery a year before the emancipation, but her master said that she had not fulfilled her end of the bargain and did not let her go.

Her Freedom

Late in 1826 Isabella decided to run away during the dawn of a day with her youngest child. She went to the home of a family of Quakers and asked for their help. When her master came looking for her, demanding that she come back, the family bought Isabella and the child from him giving her her freedom. She stayed with the family for many years as a maid, trying to repay her debt to them. While she was there she learned about religion and became a pastor from the teachings of them.

Important Life Events

The two Quakers that gave her her freedom taught her about religion, they were part of the reason that she became a great preacher and speaker. Later, she found out that her son was sold illegally to Alabama. She went to the courts and asked for their help, but they said that if she gave them a certain sum of money they would help. She didn't have enough money and had to go back to the Quakers home and again ask for help. They agreed and gave her the money. She went back to court and regained her son. She was the first black woman to win against a white man. She toured with a great speaker and through that she became a great speaker. She made radical statements that changed peoples perspective on slavery and women's rights. One of the later of her speeches was the speech "Ain't I a Woman?" This speech familiarized the people with the subject of women's rights.

Fight for Abolition and Womens Rights

She wrote "The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave" and was later asked to go on tour with George Thompson. She spoke in front of large crowds about slavery and human rights. She attended and spoke at the first National Women's Rights Convention. She joined the Northern Association of Education and Industry to help with the issue of women's rights and pacifism. Later, she gave her well known speech "Ain't I a Woman?" at the Ohio Women's Rights convention. She continued to tour, gaining knowledge as being a speaker, drawing in larger and larger crowds. she also made radical claims that influenced the way people thought about slavery, human rights and many more.

fun facts

Sojourner truths real name, that was given to her at birth, was Isabella Baumfree. She had 12 brothers and sisters, most of which were sold off at a young age. She was sold to a man named John Neely, along with a herd of sheep for $100, who she described as cruel and harsh. she had almost no education, excluding the knowledge that she gained from her parents, masters, and equals. She had a life changing experience while living at the Quakers home and became an awe-inspiring preacher.


After decades of speaking throughout the country, close to deaf and blind, she went to Michigan to live for the last few years of her life. She died November 26, 1883 in Battle Creek, Michigan. Over one thousand people came to the funeral to honour her death. Even if she isnt remembered her message will be for a very long time.
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Krass, Peter, and Heather Lehr. Wagner. Sojourner Truth: Antislavery Activist. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2004. Print.

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"Sojourner Truth Facts." KidsKonnect. N.p., 23 June 2010. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

"Sojourner Truth." Sojourner Truth. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

"Sojourner Truth." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.