Sojourner Truth escaped slavery to become an abolitionist by running away from her fourth owner, John Dumont, in 1827. She was sheltered and later freed by the Van Wagners, a Quaker and abolitionist family who bought Truth from Dumont for $20.Continue Reading
Truth was born into slavery as Isabella Baumfree in 1797. Before she turned 30, Truth had worked as a slave under four different masters. She married and bore children with a fellow slave. Truth lived in constant fear that her children would suffer the same fate and be sold into slavery. When she was liberated in 1827, she later discovered that her 5-year old son Peter was illegally purchased by an Alabama slave owner. She made history by winning the lawsuit she filed against the slave owner for the freedom of her son.
Truth soon became a spokeswoman for abolishing slavery and turned active in the advocacy for equal human rights, particularly the rights of women. Claiming Divine Providence, she adopted the name Sojourner Truth in 1843 and became a traveling evangelist. Truth was a charismatic preacher, blessed with eloquence and a powerful voice. She is most renowned for her "Ain't I a Woman" speech, which she delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention. Feminism has since become one of Truth's legacies. Truth also contributed during the Civil War by motivating young African-American men to enlist in the Union army. She was able to personally express her gratitude to Abraham Lincoln for abolishing slavery.Learn more about Modern History