Sojourner Truth was a women’s rights activist and an African American abolitionist. She was born enslaved in the State of New York c. 1797 as Isabella Baumfree. When she was just 9 years old she was sold for $100 with a flock of sheep. She was separated from her parents and siblings in the sale. Truth suffered abuse and violence at the hands of her owner, and over the next two years she was sold twice more. In 1817 her owner arranged for Truth to marry an older slave. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Sophia, and a son, Peter.
The state of New York began to negotiate the abolition of slavery in 1799, but it wasn’t until July 4th, 1827 that all slaves were emancipated. However, Truth took matters into her own hands in 1826, escaping to freedom with her youngest daughter. Soon after her escape Truth learned that her son Peter, who was 5 at the time, was illegally sold to a man in Alabama. She took the case to court and became one of the first black women to win a court case against a white man in the United States.
In 1843, Isabella Baumfree changed her name to Sojourner Truth. She devoted her life to Methodism, the abolition of slavery and women’s rights. She began traveling and speaking to large crowds about rights and reform. Over time her reputation grew, she was a force to be reckoned with. Even in progressive circles some of her ideas were considered radical.
Truth spoke passionately for the rest of her life, advocating for women’s rights, universal suffrage, property rights, prison reform and an end to capital punishment. She is remembered as one of the most influential leaders of the abolition movement and one of the earliest advocates of women’s rights.
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About This Image: For this shot we used a thrifted black dress pined up at the neck, a flower sack dish towel for a shawl, an old dress-up hat from the “Little House on The Prairie”, and glasses borrowed from Georgia’s oldest sister.
To learn more about this project: Her Story
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