Black History--Women of Courage: Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth never learned to read or write, but she was known as an articulate lecturer and evangelist. Her first act as a free woman was fighting to win her youngest son back, who was illegally sold into slavery. They moved to New York, where she became a traveling preacher. With little more than the clothes on her back, she began walking through Long Island and Connecticut, speaking to people in the countryside about her life and her relationship with God.

When she rose to speak, one observer said, "her commanding figure and dignified manner hushed everyone." After several months, friends encouraged Sojourner to go to the Northampton Association, a cooperative community dedicated to equality and the betterment of human life.

She became a sought-after figure on the antislavery-woman's rights lecture circuit. She's most known for delivering her "Ain't I a Woman" speech at the Woman's Rights Convention, where she outlined the injustices against women.

She moved to Washington, DC, where, in her late 60s, she began working with former slaves in the newly created Freedman's Village. She met with President Lincoln in the White House, where she thanked him for his commitment to free the slaves.

After the Civil War, she set out on a final crusade to gain support for her dream of a land distribution program for former slaves. Although Sojourner never fulfilled that dream, she will forever be remembered as a woman of courage.

Reported by: Dawn Baker,