Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth

"Truth is powerful and it prevails" - Sojourner Truth

Illustration by Emily Isabella

Illustration by Emily Isabella

Sojourner Truth was born around 1797 in upstate New York. Originally named, Isabella Baumfree, Truth was sold at eleven years old along with a flock of sheep for $100. Truth wrote about her life as a child in slavery and talked about the sexual abuse and severe beatings she received from her slave owner. Truth fled her master in 1826 — one year before the abolition of slavery in New York and eventually became a freed slave.

After Truth became a free woman, she had the courage to go to court to challenge the legality of her son being sold into slavery. She was successful against all odds, which makes the court case so extraordinary.

Inspired by religion, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth in 1843. Sojourner means ‘traveler’ and Truth means ‘to be genuine or real’. The following year, she joined forces with abolitionists such as Frederick Douglas. Truth became a traveling preacher and spoke forcefully about women’s rights issues. She is considered one of the earliest activists for women’s rights.

In 1850, Truth published her memoirs. The following year, she delivered her famous speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention. The speech was later retitled ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ and it was powerful because it talked about the equality of work that was executed by black people in general — free or not free, man or woman.

Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Truth recruited black troops for the Union Army. She met with President Lincoln in 1864 who gave her permission to become a counselor at Freedman’s Village. Her contribution to the Civil War was her advocacy for black people to fight for their own freedom.

Truth continued to advocate for abolition and women’s rights until her death on November 6th in 1883. In 2009 a statue of Sojourner Truth was unveiled at the US Capitol, commemorating her legacy. Today she is considered to be one of the gutsiest women in United States History.


"Sojourner Truth used the fire within her to rise above her circumstances and fight for justice and equality. I wish I could have met her - I have a feeling that she was a wild woman, in the best way." - Emily Isabella


The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson

Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson