November 26, 1797
Sojourner Truth was born into slavery under the name Isabell Hardenburgh
and had many owners as she was growing up. She was forced to marry another
slave named Thomas and had 13 children, most of which were sold away
from her. At the age of 30 she gained her freedom.
As a free woman
she changed her name to Sojourner Truth and began touring the country
on foot speaking out against slavery and for women's rights, putting
herself sometimes in great personal danger. As difficult as this was,
she said it was not as difficult as slavery. She supported herself by
selling her own autobiography.
had a deep belief in god and was an extremely eloquent speaker. She
stood 6 feet tall and towered over most men and women at the time. She
spoke in front of Presidents Lincoln and Grant. Her most famous speech
"Ain't I a Woman," delivered in 1851 for women's rights made
even a white and prejudiced audience listen.
In 1836, Sojourner
Truth became the first black person to win a slander case against a
- First black to
win a slander case against a white person
"Look at my arm. It's plowed and planted and gathered into barns
and no man could head me - and ain't I a woman?"
"That man over
there says that woman needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted
over ditches. . . . Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles
. . . and ain't I a woman?"
"What did your
Christ come from? From God and a woman. Man had nothing to do with him."
Sojourner Truth, Nell Irvin Painter
Journey Towards Freedom, Jacqueline Bernard
Sojourner Truth, Peter Krass
Sojourner Truth, Victoria Ortiz