orig. Isabella Van Wagener
1797, Ulster county, N.Y., U.S.—died Nov. 26, 1883, Battle Creek, Mich.) U.S. evangelist and social reformer. The daughter of slaves, she spent her childhood as an abused chattel of several masters. After being freed in about 1827, she worked as a domestic in New York City (1829–43) and began preaching on street corners with the evangelical missionary Elijah Pierson. Adopting the name Sojourner Truth, she left New York to obey a “call” to travel and preach. Adding abolitionism
and women's rights to her religious messages, she traveled in the Midwest, where her magnetism drew large crowds. At the start of the American Civil War
she gathered supplies for black volunteer regiments. In 1864 she went to Washington, D.C., where she helped integrate streetcars and was received at the White House by Pres. Abraham Lincoln
. After the war she worked for the freedmen's relief organization and encouraged migration to Kansas and Missouri.
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.