Isabella Baumfree: Sojourner Truth

February 1

“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.”

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), 1860’s Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Isabella aka Sojourner Truth was born a slave 1797 in Swartekill, New York. She was the daughter of James and Elizabeth Baumfree. It appears Sojourner was a strong voice for women’s rights, an abolitionist and author. Years after the death of the only man she loved, she was forced to marry an older slave named Thomas, also owned by her master. To their union four of the five children born belonged to them as her daughter Diana was fathered by John Dumont. One of her greatest challenges was suing her youngest son’s master. Once she’d learned he’d sold her child to someone in Alabama she became concerned. The sale would prevent Peter from being freed under New York law once he turned 21 years old. It took faith in God and determination but she won her case. Peter was returned to New York and eventually given to her, as she was the only one that could claim him legally. Sojourner moved to Battle Creek, Michigan to be with at least one of her daughters. She died November 26, 1883 in Battle Creek, Michigan.

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