History Spotlights: Sojourner Truth, a former slave, became an outspoken advocate for abolition, temperance, and civil and women's rights in the nineteenth century. Her Civil War work earned her an invitation to meet President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.
Truth, born Isabella Bomfree in 1797 in Ulster County, New York, was bought and sold four times and subjected to harsh physical labor and violent punishments. Beginning in 1815, she united with another slave and had five children. In 1827, she ran away to an abolitionist family with her infant Sophia. This family, the Van Wageners, bought her freedom for $20 and successfully sued for the return of her 5-year-old son Peter who was illegally sold into slavery in Alabama.
In 1828, she moved to New York City and worked for a local minister. She went on to participate in religious revivals and became a charismatic speaker. In 1843, she declared that the Spirit of the Lord called her to preach the truth, renaming herself Sojourner Truth.
She met abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass which influenced her to begin to give speeches about the evils of slavery. She never learned to read and write, but she dictated The Narrative of Sojourner Truth to Oliver Gilbert, who assisted in its publication. Truth survived on sales of the book, which also brought her national recognition. Later, she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and other temperance advocates of which represented causes she championed. In 1851, she began a lecture tour that included a women's rights conference in Akron, Ohio, where she delivered her famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech. In this speech, she challenged prevailing notions of racial and gender inferiority and inequality by reminding listeners of her combined strength and female status. (PHOTO: ThoughtCo.com. History: National Women's History Museum Online) #TBC. #SojournerTruth #365Black #WomensHistory #USHistory