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Sojourner Truth

©James Bennett Dream by SV Bosak


African-American political reformer, member of the Club of Dreamers (Dream by Susan V. Bosak).

She was born a slave named Isabella, but eventually changed her name to Sojourner Truth, referring to her work as a traveling preacher.

When she was young, she was sold to several different masters before gaining her freedom. Once she was free, she traveled around the United States denouncing slavery to huge crowds.

Although she could neither read nor write, Truth was a passionate, inspiring speaker. After the Civil War, she campaigned for equal rights for freed slaves and for women.

Said Sojourner Truth:

"I can't read a book but I can read de people."

"There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights, but not a word about the colored women; and if colored men get their rights, and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before."

"It is the mind that makes the body."

"Those are the same stars, and that is the same moon, that look down upon your brothers and sisters, and which they see as they look up to them, though they are ever so far away from us, and each other."

"I am not going to die; I'm going home like a shooting star."

Recommended Reading:

A Picture Book of Sojourner Truth by David Adler and Gershom Griffith (illus). Holiday House, 1996. A chronological narrative that introduces the life of a woman born into slavery who became a well-known abolitionist and crusader for the rights of African Americans.

Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman? by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick McKissack. Scholastic, 1994. A readable biography that includes quotes and documentary photos that breathe life into the personality and times of Sojourner Truth.

Walking the Road to Freedom: A Story About Sojourner Truth by Jeri Ferris and Peter Hanson (illus). Carolrhoda Books, 1988. Traces the life of the African-American woman orator who spoke out against slavery.

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org

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