Sojourner Truth (Isabella Baumfree)
Isabella Baumfree (Sojourner Truth) in
County, New York. 1797
Sojourner Truth was born in 1797 in
County, a Dutch settlement in upstate New York. Her given
name was Isabella Baumfree. She was sold from her family
around the age of eleven. She was sold several times and
suffered many hardships under slavery.
to submit to the will of her third master, John Dumont,
Isabella married an older slave named Thomas. Thomas and
Isabella had five children.
had promised Isabella freedom a year before the state
reneged on his promise, Isabella ran away with her infant
son in 1828.
eventually settled in
City, working as a domestic for several religious communes.
Isabella Baumfree changed her name to Sojourner Truth and
preaching "God's truth and plan for salvation” she joined
the utopian community "The Northampton Association for
Education and Industry, "where she met and worked with
abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick
Douglass and Olive Gilbert. Her dictated memoirs were
published in 1850 as The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A
eventually added abolitionism and women's suffrage to her
oratory, often giving personal testimony about her
experiences as a slave. In 1851, she spoke at a women's
Ohio. The legendary phrase, "Ain't I a Woman?" was
associated with Truth after this speech.
the Civil War ended, she worked tirelessly to aid the
newly-freed southern slaves. She even attempted to petition
Congress to give the ex-slaves land in the "new West." Truth
continued preaching and lecturing until ill health forced
her to retire.
November 1883 in