Birth of Sojourner Truth Isabella Baumfree was an American with New York Dutch roots who worked to end slavery and fight for women’s rights.
The truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, New York. In 1826, she escaped to freedom with her young daughter.’
In 1828, when she went to court to get her son back, she was the first black woman to win a case against a white man in this way.
In 1843, when she was sure that God wanted her to leave the city and go to the country to “testify the hope that was in her,” she gave herself the name “Sojourner Truth.”
Her most famous speech was made on the spot at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1851.
The Early Life of Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth once said that she was born between 1797 and 1800. The truth was one of 10 or 12 kids James and Elizabeth Baumfree had (or Bomefree). Colonel Hardenbergh bought James and Elizabeth Baumfree from slave traders.
He kept their family at his estate in Esopus, New York, 95 miles (153 km) north of New York City. The estate was in a big hilly area called Swartekill in Dutch, which is just north of what is now Rifton.
She grew up speaking Dutch, and she kept her Dutch accent for the rest of her life. Charles Hardenbergh took over his father’s business and kept owning slaves as part of that business.
When Charles Hardenbergh died in 1806, Truth, also known as Belle, was sold to John Neely near Kingston, New York, for $100 along with a flock of sheep.
Truth only spoke Dutch up until that point. When she learned English, she kept her Dutch accent and didn’t use a typical dialect.
She later said that Neely was mean and cruel, and she told how he beat her every day and even once used a bundle of rods.
In 1808, Neely sold her to Martinus Schryver, who ran a tavern in Port Ewen, New York. Schryver kept her for 18 months. Then, in 1810, Schryver sold Truth to John Dumont from West Park, New York.
The truth was raped many times by John Dumont, and there was a lot of tension between her and Dumont’s wife, Elizabeth Waring Dumont, who bothered her and made her life harder.
Is He Still Alive or Not?
During the last years of her life, Truth was taken care of by two of her daughters. A journalist from the Grand Rapids Eagle came to talk to her a few days before she died.
“Her face was pale and thin, and it looked like she was in a lot of pain. Her eyes were very bright and her mind was sharp, but she found it hard to talk.
Truth died at her home in Battle Creek early in the morning of November 26, 1883. Her funeral was held at the Congregational-Presbyterian Church on November 28, 1883.
The Reverend Reed Stuart, the church’s pastor, led the service. Some of the most important people in Battle Creek carried the casket, and almost a thousand people came to the service. The truth was laid to rest in the Oak Hill Cemetery in the city.
Frederick Douglass gave a eulogy for her in Washington, D.C. He said, “Venerable for age, distinguished for insight into human nature, remarkable for independence and courageous self-assertion, devoted to the welfare of her race, she has been for the last forty years an object of respect and admiration to social reformers everywhere.”
What is Sojourner Truth Known for?
Sojourner Truth was a former slave who became a strong supporter of abolition, temperance, civil rights, and women’s rights in the 1800s. In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln asked her to meet with him because of the work she had done during the Civil War.
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