Sojourner Truth(redirected from Truth, Sojourner)
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|Birthplace||Swartekill, New York, U.S.|
Domestic servant, abolitionist, author, human rights activist
Sojourner Truth:see Truth, SojournerTruth, Sojourner,
c.1797–1883, American abolitionist, a freed slave, originally called Isabella, b. Ulster co., N.Y. Convinced that she heard heavenly voices, she left (1843) domestic employment in New York City, adopted the name Sojourner Truth, and traveled throughout
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Truth, Sojourner,c.1797–1883, American abolitionist, a freed slave, originally called Isabella, b. Ulster co., N.Y. Convinced that she heard heavenly voices, she left (1843) domestic employment in New York City, adopted the name Sojourner Truth, and traveled throughout the North preaching emancipation and women's rights. A remarkable personality, she spoke with much effectiveness even though she remained illiterate.
See O. Gilbert, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (1878, repr. 1968); biographies by A. H. Fauset (1938, repr. 1971), H. E. Pauli (1962), E. B. Claflin (1987), C. Mabee and S. Mabee Newhouse (1993), and N. Painter (1996).
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Truth, Sojourner (b. Isabella)(?1797–1883) abolitionist, women's rights activist; born in Ulster County, N.Y. Born to slaves of a wealthy Dutch-American estate owner—she grew up speaking Dutch—she herself served as a slave in the Dumont family (1810–27) and had at least five children (two daughters were sold away from her). She fled her owners' household in 1827 and found refuge in the home of the Van Wageners and took their name. She successfully sued to get her son back from slavery in Alabama, and about 1829 she settled in New York City with him and a daughter. A religious mystic by this time, for the next few years she was heavily involved with some questionable religious evangelicals; after a scandal in which she was an innocent bystander, she withdrew to raise her children and to work as a domestic. Then in 1843 she announced that "voices" had commanded her to assume the name "Sojourner Truth" and to set out as a preacher. She ended up in Northampton, Mass., with a utopian community and stayed there until about 1850 when she settled in Battle Creek, Mich. By that time she had also added lectures on abolition and women's rights to her public appearances. (Extremely tall, she was accused of being a man and is said to have bared her breast at a women's rights convention to prove she was a woman.) She was received by President Lincoln at the White House in 1864. After the war she advocated a "Negro State" and promoted the emigration of African-Americans to the West. She continued to travel throughout much of the northeast, lecturing on a variety of inspirational and social reform topics, retiring to Battle Creek, Mich., in her later years.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.