This remarkable woman through her own determination and with no education became an extraordinary force in the antislavery and early women’s movement. Standing six feet tall and wearing a turban she spoke the language of enslaved people and often delivered her message through poetry and song. She had become such a force by the time of her death in 1883 that this “ high priestess of righteousness and equality “ had earned private audiences with both Presidents Lincoln and Grant. Historians place Sojourner’s influence only behind that of Harriet Tubman. She knew the “ hell of slavery” and spoke for the millions of women who had no voice. She said of her meeting with Lincoln, ” As I was taking my leave, he arose and took my hand, and said he would be pleased to have me call again. I felt that I was in the presence of a friend, and now I thank God from the bottom of my heart that I always have advocated for his cause.”
SOJOURNER TRUTH, NARRATIVE AND BOOK OF LIFE.
The story of Sojourner Truth is well-known within antislavery literature. This narrative, first written with the aid of a white woman, Olive Gilbert in 1850, was reprinted in 1875 with additional notes by Mrs. Francis W. Titus. The most recent publication which is the subject of this post was published by Ebony Classics in 1970.
Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in Upstate New York in 1825. Slavery at the large farms along the Hudson was common in that period. She was one of thirteen children and most of her siblings were sold by the age of ten. She herself had five owners, and her five children were also enslaved, one of whom she managed to retrieve. That story is a riveting part of the narrative.
Don’t miss the significance of the title “ BOOK OF LIFE.” This is a rare personal glimpse into a world that can only be elucidated by one who lived it. You may well feel Sojourner’s presence.