December 24, 2015

Today We Honor Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth was born in 1797 on the Colonel Johannes Hardenbergh estate in Swartekill, a Dutch settlement in upstate New York. She was born to Elizabeth and James Baumfree, also slaves on the Hardenbergh plantation. She spoke only Dutch until she suffered cruel treatment at the hands of a later master, she learned to speak English quickly, but had a Dutch accent for the rest of her life. Her book, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave allowed Sojourner to tour and speak to woman across the nation. In 1854, at the Ohio Woman’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, she gave her most famous, “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech : “That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place, and ain’t I a woman? I have plowed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me and ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man (when I could get it), and bear the lash as well and ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children and seen most all sold off to slavery and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me and ain’t I woman?”

(photo: Sojourner Truth)

- CARTER Magazine