Prominent abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth was pivotal in the movement for Freed People and women everywhere. Born into slavery in the State of New York, Truth had lost her first love, and had her children taken from her and sold illegally. After escaping slavery, Truth devoted herself to evangelical religion and immersed herself in moral reform and abolitionist work. From collecting supplies for black regiments during the Civil War to advocating for Freed People during the Reconstruction period, Sojourner Truth was a woman of power and strength; a passionate speaker whose legacy of feminism and racial equality remains relevant today. To learn more about the woman of the hour, here are 10 incredible facts about Sojourner Truth:
Fact 1: Born back in the year 1797, Sojourner Truth was born. Although a pretty rad name, it was self-given. Her real name is Isabella Baumfree, born into slavery in the New York State. Her new name came about when her passion for wanting to sojourn or travel to different lands and to speak of nothing but the truth became evident. It seemed fitting that she named herself with something that suited her life’s mission.
Fact 2: She was one of the world’s most prominent Women’s Rights activist, as well as abolitionist. The most famous speech that has drawn much attention to her life was entitled “Ain’t I A Woman”, and it was delivered extemporaneously at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention back in 1851.
Fact 3: Sojourner Truth was one of 12 children, all born to James and Elizabeth Baumfree. The family hails from the town of Swaterkill, Ulster County, New York. The Baumfree family was owned by Colonel Hardenbergh and his family. Because the area they lived in had once been under Dutch control, both the Baumfrees and the Hardenbaughs spoke Dutch very fluently.
Fact 4: This pillar of strength and inspiration was also a woman of love and affection. Becoming a wife and a mother were also two roles life had for her. During 1815, Truth had fallen in love with a fellow slave by the name of Robert, who worked at the neighboring farm. The pair had a daughter they named Diana.
Fact 5: There was trouble in paradise, because Robert’s owner was against their union, seeing as how any offspring they had would be owned by the Hardenbaughs. Sojourner and Robert were never allowed to see each other again. Eventually, Sojourner was forced to marry an older slave named Thomas. She bore him a son named Peter, and daughters Sophia and Elizabeth.
Fact 6: Sojourner Truth had once paid a visit to the Whitehouse in Washington D.C. and met Abraham Lincoln. It was believed that their meeting was nothing short of a pleasant one, as they both had mutual respect for one another. Here, Truth told the President about her life story and spoke about her convictions; her goal was to improve the living conditions of the black people.
Fact 7: This woman was blessed with a height and presence unmatched! Towering at 6 feet and two inches, she was a force to be reckoned with. Throw in her powerful voice, great command of the English language, and a strong Dutch accent into the mix and you have a champion in the midst. Truth was such a magnetic and appealing woman that Harriet Beecher Stowe had said she had never been conversant with anyone who had more subtle power and personal presence than Truth.
Fact 8: To support herself during her journeys as a wandering orator, Sojourner made her own autobiography and sold it during her travels for only 20 cents!
Fact 9: A devout Christian, she believed that God had given her name and her mission to her, and strengthened her to fight the battles she faced. Her victories were God’s work.
Fact 10: Sojourner truth is famous for being the first black woman to court and win, not only once, but twice! The first time, when she sought to fight for her son Peter back when he was sold illegally right after the emancipation, and another time, when she was implicated for murder and hit with a slander lawsuit.