He died some years later, perhaps  as a result of the injuries, and the experience haunted Truth throughout her life. Truth eventually married an older slave named Thomas. She bore five children: James, her firstborn, who died in childhood, Diana , fathered by either Robert or John Dumont, and Peter , Elizabeth , and Sophia ca. The state of New York began, in , to legislate the abolition of slavery, although the process of emancipating those people enslaved in New York was not complete until July 4, Dumont had promised to grant Truth her freedom a year before the state emancipation, "if she would do well and be faithful.
She was infuriated but continued working, spinning pounds of wool, to satisfy her sense of obligation to him. Late in , Truth escaped to freedom with her infant daughter, Sophia. She had to leave her other children behind because they were not legally freed in the emancipation order until they had served as bound servants into their twenties. She later said "I did not run off, for I thought that wicked, but I walked off, believing that to be all right. Truth learned that her son Peter, then five years old, had been sold illegally by Dumont to an owner in Alabama.
With the help of the Van Wagenens, she took the issue to court and in , after months of legal proceedings, she got back her son, who had been abused by those who were enslaving him. Truth had a life-changing religious experience during her stay with the Van Wagenens, and became a devout Christian. They shared an interest in charity for the poor and became intimate friends.
In , she met Robert Matthews , also known as Prophet Matthias, and went to work for him as a housekeeper at the Matthias Kingdom communal colony.
Both were acquitted of the murder,  though Matthews was convicted of lesser crimes, served time, and moved west.
In , Truth's son Peter took a job on a whaling ship called the Zone of Nantucket. From to , she received three letters from him, though in his third letter he told her he had sent five. Peter said he also never received any of her letters. When the ship returned to port in , Peter was not on board and Truth never heard from him again.
She became a Methodist , and on June 1, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth. However, that did not last since Jesus failed to appear in and then again in Like many others disappointed , Truth distanced herself from her Millerite friends for a while.
Founded by abolitionists, the organization supported women's rights and religious tolerance as well as pacifism. There were, in its four-and-a-half year history, a total of members, though no more than at any one time. In , the group disbanded, unable to support itself.
In , she visited John Dumont before he moved west. In , with proceeds from sales of the Narrative and cartes-de-visite entitled "I sell the shadow to support the substance," she paid off the mortgage held by her friend from the Community, Samuel L.
In , Truth joined George Thompson , an abolitionist and speaker, on a lecture tour through central and western New York State. Advocating for women and African Americans was dangerous and challenging enough, but being one and doing so was far more difficult. The pressures and severity of her speech did not get to Truth, however. Truth took to the stage with a demanding and composed presence. Audience members were baffled by the way she carried herself and were hesitant to believe that she was even a woman, prompting the name of her speech "Ain't I a Woman?
Different versions of Truth's words have been recorded, with the first one published a month later in the Anti-Slavery Bugle by Rev. Marius Robinson, the newspaper owner and editor who was in the audience.
Twelve years later, in May , Gage published another, very different, version. In it, Truth's speech pattern had characteristics of Southern slaves, and the speech was vastly different than the one Robinson had reported. Gage's version of the speech became the historic standard version, and is known as "Ain't I a Woman?
In contrast to Robinson's report, Gage's version included Truth saying her 13 children were sold away from her into slavery. Truth is widely believed to have had five children, with one sold away, and was never known to boast more children. Gage wrote in that Akron in general and the press in particular were largely friendly to the woman's rights convention, but in she wrote that the convention leaders were fearful of the "mobbish" opponents.
According to Frances Gage's recount in , Truth argued, "That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. And ain't I a woman? Over the next 10 years, Truth spoke before dozens, perhaps hundreds, of audiences. From to , Truth worked with Marius Robinson, the editor of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Bugle , and traveled around that state speaking.
Northampton Camp Meeting —, Northampton, Massachusetts: At a camp meeting where she was participating as an itinerant preacher, a band of "wild young men" disrupted the camp meeting, refused to leave, and threatened to burn down the tents. Truth caught the sense of fear pervading the worshipers and hid behind a trunk in her tent, thinking that since she was the only black person present, the mob would attack her first.
However, she reasoned with herself and resolved to do something: They urged her to sing, preach, and pray for their entertainment. After singing songs and preaching for about an hour, Truth bargained with them to leave after one final song. The mob agreed and left the camp meeting.
Abolitionist Convention —s, Boston, Massachusetts: William Lloyd Garrison invited Sojourner Truth to give a speech at an annual antislavery convention.
Wendell Phillips was supposed to speak after her, which made her nervous since he was known as such a good orator. Mob Convention —September 7, At the convention, young men greeted her with "a perfect storm," hissing and groaning.
In response, Truth said, "You may hiss as much as you please, but women will get their rights anyway. You can't stop us, neither".
In her speech, Sojourner speaks out for women's rights. She incorporates religious references in her speech, particularly the story of Esther.
She then goes on to say that, just as women in scripture, women today are fighting for their rights. Moreover, Sojourner scolds the crowd for all their hissing and rude behavior, reminding them that God says to "Honor thy father and thy mother.
I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal; I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it.
I am as strong as any man that is now. The video below is a reading of the speech by Alice Walker. I can make use of my own right. I want the same use of the same right. Do you want it? Give them what belongs to them; they ask it kindly too. So I am for keeping the thing going while things are stirring. Was it not God? Who made mine black? Was it not the same God? Am I to blame, therefore, because my skin is black? Does not God love colored children as well as white children? And did not the same Savior die to save the one as well as the other?
Sojourner Truth spoke Dutch and then learned to speak English. She would not have used the Southern idioms. To me it feels wrong, it feeds into a stereotype, this woman fought for the freedom of her son in court and won. This woman sued a non-black couple what would amount to defamation and won! I would have loved to have seen Alice Walker accurately represent the improvised speech. By going into states where she, or any black for that matter, was not wanted and preaching abolitionist rhetoric she proved that a person of color could fight back.
For example, in Indiana, African Americans had been barred, through legislation, from entering the state shortly after the Civil War. Naturally, Sojourner took her speaking tour in directly through the heart of Indiana, which would make her stay marked by legal trials. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The speech targeted men for their egotism in claiming women and blacks should not be given rights because they were not as capable as white men. Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him. She continued, claiming if man believes women and blacks have less intellect then so be it, but that does not give them justification for disallowing them their rights and freedoms: What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights?
If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full? The speech was short, taking not much more than five to ten minutes, but the punch delivered was felt throughout the nation as the speech and more directly her phrase became legendary.
Lewis This account heighten the intensity surrounding the speech, which had already been intense in its own right, as Sojourner became seen as the crusader against injustice that she is remembered as today.
Together, these two highly romanticized views of Sojourner Truth helped to create the public image of the ex-slave -- an image which still endures today. The following is the original report by Marcus Robinson. One of the most unique and interesting speeches of the convention was made by Sojourner Truth, an emancipated slave.
Guests examined the history of abolitionism, women’s suffrage, and the antebellum period through the writings of Sojourner Truth. She wrote an autobiography, with the help of Olive Gilbert, titled The Narrative of Sojourner Truth.
SOJOURNER TRUTH. HER BIRTH AND PARENTAGE. THE subject of this biography, SOJOURNER TRUTH, as she now calls herself–but whose name, originally, was Isabella–was born, as near as she can now calculate, between the years and She was the daughter of James and Betsey, slaves of one Colonel Ardinburgh, Hurley, . Sojourner Truth (born Isabella Baumfree, c. to November 26, ) was an African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist best-known for her speech on racial inequalities, "Ain't I a Woman?", delivered extemporaneously in at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention.
Sojourner Truth, born Isabella Baumfree in , was an active participant in the Women’s Rights movement as well as a strong anti-slavery proponent from the time of her emancipation in until her death in Sojourner Truth delivered her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech in at the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. Her short, simple speech was a powerful rebuke to many anti-feminist arguments of the day. It became, and continues to serve, as a classic expression of women’s rights. Truth became, and still is today, a symbol of strong women.