Sojourner Truth

by. Abbey Walter

Who/what was Sojourner Truth inspired by?

Truth was inspired by her own experiences to speak about slavery and women's rights.

What was Truth's childhood/ family situation?

Sojourner was born into slavery in Hurley, New York, around 1797. She was taught Dutch growing up. Her brothers and sisters were taken at a young age for the slave trade. In 1815, Truth fell in love with a slave from a neighboring farm and had a daughter, but Robert's owner forbade the relationship, so of course they had to be separated. In 1817, Truth's owner compelled her to marry an older slave named Thomas and they had a son and two daughters.
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When was Truth born and when did she die? What was her education status?

Truth was born in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York. Sojourner couldn't read read, but she knew every word printed in the Bible. She was unschooled and had to have someone else write her books while she spoke them. Truth died at the age of 86 in Battle Creek, Michigan. Truth is remembered for her unschooled, but remarkable voice raised in support of abolitionism, freedom, and women's rights.

"Those are the same stars, and that is the same moon, that look down upon your brothers and sisters, and which they see as they look up to them, though they are ever so far away from us and each other." Sojourner Truth

What were some of Sojourner's accomplishments?

Truth escaped slavery with her infant daughter in 1826. After her escape, she found out her son had been illegally sold to a man in Alabama, she took him to court and got her son back and became one of the first women to win a court case against a man. Truth was best known for her extemporaneous speech on racial inequalities, "Ain't I A Woman?" Truth became one of the most articulate and outspoken antislavery activists in the country as well as the leading women's rights activist. Sojourner was asked to go to Washington, D.C. to help work with the bureau and she met President Lincoln whilst there.
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"Religion without humanity is very poor human stuff." - Sojourner Truth

What did Sojourner do to change society?

Truth soon became known for her simple but moving antislavery speeches and her attacks on the the hypocrisy of slave owners. Unlike the other abolitionists who only spoke to blacks, she mainly spoke to whites. While other spoke of violence she spoke of religion. Truth was determined to rebut the ministers who had used Jesus and the Bible to argue against women's rights. In August 1852, Truth attended an abolitionist meeting in Salem where she confronted Fredrick Douglass. Truth attempted to desegregate streetcars in Washington by riding in cars only for whites.

What were her slave owners like? Were they unbearable?

When 11, Truth was separated from her family due to the slave trade. Because she spoke Dutch she was frequently beaten due to the fact she couldn't understand her owner's orders. Truth's owners tried teaching her English but when they failed they sent her to the barn and without explanation they burned her with hot metal rods until her back was covered with blood. On July 4, 1827 New York emancipated slaves. After Truth gained her freedom, she worked as a maid for two years until she became an activist.