Tuesday, December 18, 2007
TRUTH, SOJOURNER Preacher, abolitionist and lecturer, Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Baumfree in 1797 in Ulster County, New York. Freed from slavery by the New York Emancipation Act of 1827, she became convinced that she was God's chosen instrument to spread "the truth" about slavery throughout the land. Adopting the name Sojourner Truth, she became an itinerant preacher and a familiar figure at abolitionist meetings, religious revivals and women's suffrage rallies in the New England, the mid-Atlantic and midwestern states. Reported to have had "mystical gifts" (she claimed that whereas educated people read the word of God in the Bible, He addressed her directly) and great powers of oratory, huge crowds would invariably gather whenever she scheduled a speech or sermon. Following the Civil War, Sojourner Truth continued her traveling and preaching in opposition to white discrimination against blacks, both in the North and South, and in favor of better educational opportunities for African Americans. She died near Battle Creek, Michigan on November 26, 1883.