Inspiration August 22, 2016
NAME: Isabella Baumfree a.k.a. Sojourner Truth
LIFETIME: 1797 – November 26, 1883
WHAT SHE IS KNOWN FOR: Sojourner Truth was a fierce abolitionist and women’s rights activist. She worked tirelessly for the rights of former slaves and women’s rights to vote.
WHY WE LOVE HER: Truth was born a slave in 1797 but she escaped with her infant daughter in 1826. Two years later, she took her former owner to court to rescue her son from slavery and she became the first African-American woman to win a court case against a white man. Truth began to preach about the abolition of slavery and made friends with William Lloyd-Garrison and Frederick Douglass. Because of their relationship, Garrison published Truth’s memoir “The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave.” Additionally, Truth delivered her famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech at a women’s rights convention, and a week later the speech was immortalized in print. During the Civil War, she met President Abraham Lincoln and helped to recruit African-American soldiers for the army. While living and recruiting in D.C., Truth rode in streetcars (which was not allowed for African-Americans at the time) to help desegregate the city, a foreshadowing of the Montgomery Bus Boycott that would occur one hundred years later. After the war, she tried to secure land grants from the government for former slaves.
FUN FACT: Before 2020, Truth will be featured on the $10 bill with women’s rights activists, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul.
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