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Black History Month: Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth

Born into slavery in Swartekill, New York as Isabella Baumfree in 1797, and adopting the name Sojourner Truth in 1843, Truth was an American abolitionist and women's rights activist. In 1928 she went to court to recover her son who had been illegally sold to slavers in Alabama. She was the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. Her best known speech, called "Ain't I a Woman?" was delivered extemporaneously at an Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. Since there were no recording devices, people wrote down what they could from the speech. Watch Alayna Vernon deliver one version of this speech in the video below. 


Books in our SORA Collection

The NY Reads Collection offers simultaneous use of the biography of Sojourner Truth as an audiobook:

  • So Tall Within by Gary D. Schmidt
    Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but possessed a mind and a vision that knew no bounds. So Tall Within traces her life from her painful childhood through her remarkable emancipation to her incredible leadership in the movement for rights for both women and African Americans.

We have three more books in our Monroe One BOCES SORA account:

  • Sojourner Truth by Peter Merchant
    Sojourner Truth had a tough childhood. She was born a slave, and many of the families she worked for treated her poorly. But when she was finally freed, Sojourner used her life to teach others about women's rights and the power of freedom.
  • Votes for Women! by Winifred Conkling
    From Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who founded the suffrage movement at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, to Sojourner Truth and her famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech, to Alice Paul, arrested and force-fed in prison, this is the story of the American women's suffrage movement and the private lives that fueled its leaders' dedication. Votes for Women! explores suffragists' often powerful, sometimes difficult relationship with the intersecting temperance and abolition campaigns, and includes an unflinching look at some of the uglier moments in women's fight for the vote.
  • Bold & Brave by Kirsten Gillibrand
    Here are the stories of ten leaders who strove to win the right to vote for American women-a journey that took more than seventy years of passionate commitment. The suffragists included are: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Jovita Idar, Alice Paul, Inez Milholland, Ida B. Wells, Lucy Burns, and Mary Church Terrell.

Knitting and Revolution

If you really want to go down an interesting historical rabbit hole, peruse some of the following articles linking the past to the present via a strand of yarn.

Crafting Freedom by Ra Malika Imhotep on the Brooklyn Tweed Blog

Stitch by Stitch: A brief history of knitting and activism by PBS News Hour

Knitting and Fine Art: Sojourner Truth, Anonymous on the Interweave site

Sojourner Truth and the Power of a Portrait - The Library of Congress


Multimedia Resources

You can find the video above in our SAFARI Montage catalog using this link:

Also see the website that goes along with the video: