Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)

Given the name Isabella at birth, Sojourner Truth was born in the year 1797, in Hurley, New York. She was enslaved for approximately twenty-eight years of her life. As "property" of several slave owners, when she was ten-years old, Isabella was sold for $100 and some sheep. Dutch was her first language, and it was said that she spoke with a Dutch accent for the reminder of her life. Although she was unable to read, Truth knew parts of the Bible by heart.

As an abolitionist and traveling preacher, Isabella understood the importance of fighting for freedom. After her conversion to Christianity, she took the name Sojourner Truth: "SojournerSojourner Truth because I was to travel up and down the land showing people their sins and being a sign to them, and Truth because I was to declare the truth unto the people." This new name reflected a new mission to spread the word of God and speak out against slavery. As a women's rights activist, Truth faced additional burdens that white women did not have, plus the challenge of combating a suffrage movement which did not want to be linked to anti-slavery causes, believing it might hurt their cause. Yet, Truth prevailed, traveling thousands of miles making powerful speeches against slavery, and for women's suffrage (even though it was considered improper for a women to speak publicly). In a speech given at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1851, Truth proclaimed that "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." It was here, too, that Truth gave her most famous speech, entitled, "Ain't I a Woman." This speech sternly chastises those who feel women and blacks are inferior. The speech, like her preaching, is eloquent and passionate.

Sojourner Truth has the distinction of being the first African American woman to win a lawsuit in the United States; the first was when she fought for her son's freedom after he had been illegally sold. Later, when she was accused by a newspaper of being a "witch" who poisoned a leader in a religious group that she had been a part of, she sued the newspaper for slander and won a $125 judgement. Truth died at the age of 84, with several thousand mourners in attendance. In December of 1883, just after her death, The New York Globe published an obituary which read in part: "Sojourner Truth stands preeminently as the only colored woman who gained a national reputation on the lecture platform in the days before the [Civil] War."

Path To Glory
Sojourner Truth: Path to Glory

Grade 3-5–The life of Isabella Baumfree, the woman who became Sojourner Truth, is told with dignity and respect, accompanied by Denos's color illustrations. As a former slave turned traveling preacher, Truth was an advocate for the rights of blacks and women. The author gives an overview of slavery, including the fact that it was legal in the North as well as the South.

Kindle Available
Sojourner Narrative
Narrative of Sojourner Truth

A symbol of the strength of African-American women, and a champion of the rights of all women, Sojourner Truth was an illiterate former slave in New York State who transformed herself into a vastly powerful orator. Dictating to a neighbor, she began her celebrated life story, in which she chronicles her youth
  Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth Photographic Print
12 in. x 16 in.
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  Contraband of War
Contraband of War
24 in. x 18 in.
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The Head of the Women's Suffrage Parade Photograph - Washington, DC
The Head of the Women's Suffrage Parade
Photograph - Washington, DC Giclee Print

24 in. x 18 in.
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Framed   Mounted

Women of the American Suffrage Movement
Womens Suffrage Timeline
American Civil War Women
Womens Civil War Reading Titles
American Civil War Recipes
Civil War Exhibits

Dora Lewis (center) of Philadelphia [with Clara Louise Rowe (left) and Abby Scott Baker (right)] on release from jail after days of hunger strike. August 1918.

The day after the police announce that future pickets would be given limit of 6 mos. in prison,
Alice Paul led picket line with banner reading "The time has come to conquer or submit for there is but one choice - we have made it."
She is followed by Mrs. Lawrence Lewis [Dora Lewis]. This group received 6 mos. in prison.
click to enlarge photo

Left to right: Adelaide Johnston, sculptor, Mrs. Lawrence [Dora] Lewis, Phila., Jane Addams. At time statue was placed in capitol.

American Civil War Book Titles
Kindle Available
Sojourner Truth
Narrative of Sojourner Truth

The horror and evil of slavery is something that every American should confront. This is not to hang or condemn anyone. Its just to say that a book like The Narrative of Sojourner Truth is something that everyone should read. I was at times stunned by Sojourner Truths startling courage in the face of the evil she faced.
The Vanderbilt Women: Dynasty of Wealth, Glamour and Tragedy
The fascinating lives of three generations of Vanderbilt women who dominated New York society from the middle of the eighteenth century through the twentieth. Of special interest are the discovery of unpublished letters
Century of Struggle
Century of Struggle
The Womans Rights Movement

Young suffragists who helped forge the last links in that chain were not born when it began. Old suffragists who forged the first links were dead when it ended. It is doubtful if any man, even among suffrage men, ever realized what the suffrage struggle came to mean to women
Women Suffrage
Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Women's Movement in America, 1848-1869
In the two decades since Feminism and Suffrage was first published, the increased presence of women in politics and the gender gap in voting patterns have focused renewed attention on an issue generally perceived as nineteenth-century

Kindle Available
Grimke Sisters
The Grimke Sisters from South Carolina: Pioneers for Women's Rights and Abolition

A landmark work of women's history originally published in 1967, Gerda Lerner's best-selling biography of Sarah and Angelina Grimke explores the lives and ideas of the only southern women to become antislavery agents in the North and pioneers for women's rights. This revised and expanded edition includes two new primary documents and an additional essay by Lerner. In a revised introduction Lerner reinterprets her own work nearly forty years later and gives new recognition to the major significance of Sarah Grimke's feminist writings
Kindle Available
Lizzie Stanton
You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton?

Grade 3-6. Fritz applies her gift for creating engaging, thorough historical literature to a larger-than-life historical figure. Stanton was a radical among radicals, and this objective depiction of her life and times, as well as her work for women's rights, makes readers feel invested in her struggle. An appealing, full-page black-and-white drawing illustrates each chapter. For students who need a biography, this title should fly off the shelves with a minimum of booktalking. And it is so lively that it is equally suitable for leisure reading.?
92 Years
Recollections of 92 Years, 1824-1916

When the indomitable Meriwether was banned from her home by Union soldiers because her husband was a Confederate officer, she spent the next two years bartering for food and shelter for herself and her three young sons. After the war, Meriwether embarked on a decades-long career as an author and advocate for the equality of women, keeping up the crusade until her death in 1916--the year congressional support for women's suffrage emerged.

U.S. Library of Congress