Sojourner Truth

C. 1797 - 1883

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A Summary of the Life of Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth, originally named Isabella Baumfree, was born into slavery around 1797 in Ulster County, New York. She and her family were under the ownership of Colonel Hardenbergh. At nine years old she was separated from her family and sold, along with a flock of sheep, for $100 to John Neely. Truth was forced to marry a slave named Thomas with who she had a son named Peter and two daughters, Elizabeth and Sophia. She ran away and became a free woman. On June 1, 1843 Isabella Baumfree officially changed her name to Sojourner Truth. She did this to show that she was now devoting her life to Methodism and the abolition of slavery. She came into contact with men like William Lloyd Garrison, and Frederick Douglas. Sojourner truth died in Battle Creek, Michigan on November 26, 1883 of natural causes.

Famous Quotation

"Religion without humanity is very poor human stuff."

Being a religious woman, Truth called people to go beyond traditional means of worship, prayer, and attending church. Instead, she encouraged men and women to actively live out their faith. By saying this, Truth called for social justice because she wanted to make sure that both black and white men and women had the fundamentals and rights to live a successful life.

Famous Speech

"Ain't I a Woman?"

In May 1851 Sojourner Truth delivered her famous speech, "Ain't I a Woman?"

Here is an except from her speech: "If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again!"

Truth addresses the fall and calls for justice in this speech. She is looking to re-establish the original goodness and order of creation. In addition, she is also calling for loving relationships among all human beings so that life can flourish in the way God intended.

Bible Verse

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7)

Truth escaped slavery with her youngest daughter in 1826, a year before New York emancipated its slaves. During this time Truth learned that her son Peter has been illegally sold to a man in Alabama. She took the case to court and became the first black woman to successfully challenge a white male. I believe that this Bible verse would have been a motto that could have encouraged Sojourner Truth to fight for what is right despite her many challenges and critics.

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Sojourner Truth became the first black woman to be recognized among statues at the United States Capital.

Old Law and New Law

We learned from the book of Exodus that God is on the side of the oppressed. Sojourner Truth showed that she was on the side of the oppressed because was a reformer and activist for slaves and women. She worked to help the common good.

To continue, Truth called for respect for private property. She attempted to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves. She believed that this would benefit America and all of its people. Despite her trying efforts, however, she was unable to persuade Congress.

Sojourner truth also showed special concern for the vulnerable. She toured regularly with George Thompson speaking about slavery and human rights. She devoted her life to other people, calling for respect and unconditional love for all people.

In addition Sojourner Truth refused to do those who oppressed others harm. In 1844 she joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry. The association focused on woman right's and pacifism, which means all disputes should be settled by peaceful means.

Truth was also an advocate against capital punishment. Once she testified before the Michigan state legislature regarding this issue and continued to raise awareness for this particular injustice.

Corporal Works of Mercy

Sojourner Truth gave drink to the thirsty and visited the imprisoned. While Sojourner truth did not literally give drink to the thirsty , through her words, she created a sense of hope for many people. Her uplifting, spiritual speeches encouraged many people to strive for equality. Sojourner Truth also visited the imprisoned in the sense that she lived in a community that practice slavery. Sojourner kept positive relationships with the enslaved people at the time and vowed to help them in whatever way she could.

What can we do?

Although we may not see it in the world around us slavery is still continuing to occur. This is a very useful website that strives to educate people on matters such as modern slavery, forced labor, and human trafficking. In this presentation I chose to focus on the cotton crimes in Uzbekistan. Thousand of men, women, and children are forced to work in fields picking cotton for unfair wages and under brutal conditions. Luckily, there are many things you can do to help. You can become a member of this website and receive a magazine that addresses current issues pertaining to slavery. You can also donate, fundraise, or campaign. Attached is the link to the website.


Dear God,

I ask that you give us courage similar to Sojourner Truth.

Allow us to see the good in everyone we encounter.

Inspire us to speak against injustices in a peaceful manner

and we ask you let us not tire from helping others achieve all that they can be.