Born in 1797, Sojourner lived a long, amazing life. She was born into slavery, but escaped with her infant daughter in 1826. She went to court two years later and recovered her son, the first African-American woman to win such a case against a white man.
She gave herself her famous name after she became convinced that she was following God’s calling. During the Civil War, she gave a speech entitled “Ain’t I a Woman?” The speech was written down by a different person with a Southern accent that Sojourner did not speak, since she was brought up by a Dutch family in New York. During the war, she helped recruit Black soldiers to fight for the Union Army. After the war, she tried unsuccessfully to secure land grants for former slaves.
She fell in love with a slave from a neighboring farm, but they were caught by her owner, who savagely beat the young man, whom she never saw again. She later married an older man, a slave named Thomas. They had five children.
A converted Methodist, she started traveling and preaching about the abolition of slavery. Once, someone interrupted a speech and accused her of being a man. Truth opened her blouse and proved that she was a woman.
She preached for women’s right to vote. She dictated her memoirs which were published under the name, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Northern Slave. She became famous for her speeches against abolition and as a suffragist. Whenever there was dissent during one of her speeches, Truth would break into a religious song, and it usually quieted the crowd.
Sojourner Truth is best remembered for her great oratory for the causes she believed in.