On The First Day Of June, 1843, She Set Out From New York, On A Historic Journey Across America. She Traveled The Country, Preaching Against Slavery And Capital Punishment. She Advocated Women's Rights And Prison Reform.
She Said The Lord Gave Her The Name, Sojourner Truth, As He Had Called Upon Her "to travel up and down the land," Declaring Truth To People.
Sojourner Truth Was Born A Slave In 1797, In Swartekill, New York, But Gained Her Freedom When The New York State Emancipation Act Was Passed In 1827. She Was Six Feet Tall And Known For Wearing A Satin Banner That Said, "Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." She Was A Frequent Guest Of Abraham Lincoln At The White House, And One Of The Voices That Influenced Lincoln To Enlist Black Soldiers For The Union Army During The Civil War.
Beginning In 1799, New York Had Begun To Legislate The Abolition Of Slavery. Emancipation Was Finalized On July 4, 1827. One Of Her Masters, Knowing This Was To Occur, Had Promised To Grant Isabella Her Freedom On July 4th, 1826, "if she would do well and be faithful." On That Date, However, He Changed His Mind. A Hand Injury Had Made Her Less Productive, And Baumfree Remained Long Enough To Spin 100 Pounds Of Wool, Satisfying Her Obligation To Master Dumont. She Then Escaped With Her Infant Daughter, Sophia, Leaving Behind Her Other Children, Because A New York Emancipation Order Did Not Permit Their Freedom Until They Had Served As Bound Servants Into Their Twenties.
Baumfree Explained: "I did not run off, for I thought that wicked, but I walked off, believing that to be all right."
She Was Taken In By Isaac and Maria Van Wagener, Who Settled Her Remaining One Year Service Account, With Dumont, For $20.00. One Year Later, New York Law Emancipated All Slaves, But Dumont Had Already Sold Peter, Isabella's 5 Year-Old Child, Into Slavery, In Alabama. Baumfree Sued In Court, To Recover Her Son. She Became The First Black Woman, After Several Months Of Litigation, To Win Such A Case Against A White Man.
Sojourner Truth Died November 26, 1883, At Her Home In Battle Creek, Michigan. It's Said That Her Last Words Were: "Be A Follower Of The Lord Jesus."
"In Order For Black History To Live, We Must Continue To Breathe Life Into It." -- Hubert Gaddy, Jr.
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