Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) was an African-American abolitionist, women’s rights activist and author who was subjected to harsh physical labor and violent punishments as a slave before gaining her freedom in 1826.
Around the age nine, Truth (born Isabella Baumfree to slave parents), was sold at a slave auction for $100 and a flock of sheep. Her slave master was cruel and violent and beat the young girl regularly. She was sold two more times by the age of 13, ultimately ending up in West Park, NY at the home of John Dumont.
After a broken promise of freedom, an incensed Truth fled the clutches of Dumont with her infant daughter in tow, leaving her other children behind because they were still legally bound to him. After the New York Anti-Slavery Law was passed, Dumont illegally sold Truth’s 5-year-old son. She filed a lawsuit to get him back. Truth won her case and regained custody of her son. She was the first black woman to sue a white man in the United States and win.
After gaining her freedom, Truth preached about abolitionism and equal rights for all, highlighted by her stirring “Ain’t I A Woman?” delivered at a women’s convention in Ohio in 1851.
Truth is noted as saying, “Truth is powerful and it prevails.”
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