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Truth, Sojourner
Narrative of Sojourner Truth



"'Well, chilern, I'm glad to see so many together. Ef I am eighty-three years old, I only count my age from de time dat I was 'mancipated. Then I 'gun ter live. God is a fulfillin', an' my lost time dat I lost bein' a slave was made up. W'en I was a slave I hated de w'ite pepul. My mother said to me when I was to be sole from her, "I want to tole ye dese tings dat you will allers know dat I have tole you, for dar will be a great many tings tole you after I sta't out ob dis life inter de world to come." An' I say dis to you all, for here is a great many pepul dat when I step out ob dis existence, dat you will know what you heered ole Sojourn' Truth tell you. I was boun' a slave in the State of Noo Yo'k, Ulster County, 'mong de low Dutch. W'en I was ten years old, I could n't speak a word of Inglish, an' hab no eddicati'n at all. Dere's wonder what dey has done fur me. As I tole you w'en I was sole, my master died, an' we was goin' to hab a auction. We was all brought up to be sole. My mother, my fader was very ole, my brudder younger 'en myself, an' my mother took my han'. Dey opened a canoby ob ebben, an' she sat down an' I an' my brudder sat down by her, en she says, "Look up to de moon an' stars dat shine upon you father an' upon you mother when you sole far away, an' upon you brudders an' sisters, dat is sole away," for dere was a great number ob us, an' was all sole away befor'

my membrance. I asked her who had made de moon an' de stars, an' she says, "God," an' says I, Where is God? "Oh!" says she, "chile, he sits in de sky, an' he hears you w'en you ax him w'en you are away from us to make your marster an' misteress good, an' he will do it."

"'When we were sole, I did what my mother told me; I said, O God, my mother tole me ef I asked you to make my marster an' misteress good, you'd do it, an' dey did n't get good. [Laughter.] Why, says I, God, mebbe you can't do it. Kill 'em. [Laughter and applause.] I did n't tink he could make dem good. Dat was de idee I had. After I made such wishes my conscience burned me. Then I wud say, O God, do n't be mad. My marster make me wicked; an' I of'm thought how pepul can do such 'bominable wicked things an' dere conscience not burn dem. Now I only made wishes. I used to tell God this--I would say, 'Now, God, ef I was you, an' you was me [laughter], and you wanted any help I'd help ye;--why done you help me? [Laughter and applause.] Well, ye see I was in want, an' I felt dat dere was no help. I know what it is to be taken in the barn an' tied up an' de blood drawed out ob yere bare back, an' I tell you it would make you think 'bout God. Yes, an' den I felt, O God, ef I was you an' you felt like I do, an' asked me for help I would help you--now why won't you help me? Trooly I done know but God has helped me. But I got no good marster ontil de las' time I was sole, an' den I found one an' his name was Jesus. Oh, I tell ye, did n't I fine a good marster when I use to feel so bad, when I use to

say, O God, how ken I libe? I'm sorely 'prest both widin and widout. W'en God gi' me dat marster he healed all de wounds up. My soul rejoiced. I used to hate de w'ite pepul so, an' I tell ye w'en de lobe come in me I had so much lobe I did n't know what to lobe. Den de w'ite pepul come, an' I thought dat lobe was too good fur dem. Den I said, Yea, God, I'll lobe ev'ybuddy an' de w'ite pepul too. Ever since dat, dat lobe has continued an' kep' me 'mong de w'ite pepul. Well, 'mancipation came; we all know; can't stop to go troo de hull. I go fur adgitatin'. But I believe dere is works belong wid adgitatin', too. On'y think ob it! Ain't it wonderful dat God gives lobe enough to de Ethiopins to lobe you?

"'Now, here is de question dat I am here to-night to say. I been to Washin'ton, an' I fine out dis, dat de colud pepul dat is in Washin'tun libin on de gobernment dat de United Staas ort to gi' 'em lan' an' move 'em on it. Dey are libin on de gov'ment, an' dere is pepul takin' care of 'em costin' you so much, an' it don't benefit him 'tall. It degrades him wuss an' wuss. Therefo' I say dat these people, take an' put 'em in de West where you ken enrich 'em. I know de good pepul in de South can't take care of de negroes as dey ort to, case de ribils won't let 'em. How much better will it be for to take them culud pepul an' give 'em land? We've airnt lan' enough for a home, an' it would be a benefit for you all an' God would bless de hull ob ye for doin' it. Dey say, Let 'em take keer of derselves. Why, you've taken dat all away from 'em. Ain't got nuffin lef'. Get dese culud pepul out of Washin'tun off ob de gov'ment, an'

get de ole pepul out and build dem homes in de West, where dey can feed themselves, and dey would soon be abel to be a pepul among you. Dat is my commission. Now adgitate them pepul an' put 'em dere; learn 'em to read one part of de time an' learn 'em to work de udder part ob de time.'

"At this moment a member in the audience arose and left, greatly to the disturbance of the lady, who could with difficulty make herself heard.

"'I'll hole on a while' she said. 'Whoever is agoin' let him go. When you tell about work here, den you have to scud. [Laughter and applause.] I tell you I can't read a book, but I can read de people. [Applause.] I speak dese tings so dat when you have a paper come for you to sign, you ken sign it.'

"This was the last speech, and the services of the eight anniversary concluded at half-past nine o'clock with the pronouncing of the benediction by Rev. Mr. Haven, a general hand-shaking and congratulating on the platform, and a discussion with Sojourner Truth, whom her questioners found as apt and keen at repartee as she had proved herself to be while in attendance upon the Woman's Bazar last week."-- Boston Post .

For many years she has been blessed with the friendship and sympathy of the widely known and justly revered Rev. Gilbert Haven, whom she met during her last visit in Boston. At this time he made her a present of Zion's Herald , a paper of extensive circulation, to the reading of which she listens with great pleasure.


" Woman's Suffrage Association .--This morning's session of the Woman's Right's Convention was opened at ten o'clock. After the transaction of some business, Col. T. W. Higginson, of Newport, was introduced to the audience, mostly composed of ladies, whose number increased as the hour advanced. The main object of the speaker was to rally the women of our State and induce them to come forward in the defense of their own rights. As one result of female eloquence, he said, Mrs. Lucy Stone had succeeded in melting the heart of the chairman of the judiciary committee in our general assembly. At the conclusion of Col. Higginson's address a string of resolutions was introduced bearing on the question of Woman's Suffrage. Sojourner Truth, who was sitting on the platform, was invited to speak, and made one of her characteristic addresses, favoring a grant of land to the freedmen of Washington, and such a provision of educational privileges as will tend to the elevation of this unfortunate class.

"The great speech of the morning was made by Mrs. Livermore, of Boston, whose statement of facts was better than any labored argument. Her account of the restricted female suffrage in Kansas was highly interesting and instructive. The women in that State are allowed to vote in matters pertaining to public schools, and they use their privileges for the promotion of good education, and really out-wit the men in carrying their points. In the territory of Wyoming, where female suffrage is secured, the women have joined en masse in favor of temperance and morality, defeating the vile demagogues who strove for office, and electing persons whose character and principles are a guaranty of public order and security."


Another journal speaks of Sojourner Truth's presence at this meeting thus:--

"Mrs. Paulina W. Davis said they had a venerable lady on the platform who commenced her life a slave, was forty years in that condition, and since that time had labored for the emancipation of her race.

"Sojourner Truth, who seems to carry her weight of years very heartily, said she was somewhat pleased to come before them to bear testimony, although she had a limited time--only a few minutes--but as many friends wanted to hear Sojourner's voice, she thought she would accept the offer. She spoke when the spirit moved her--not when the people moved her, but when the spirit moved her--for when she was limited to a few minutes, the people moved her. She was in the woman movement, for she was a woman herself. The Friend said that woman ought to have her rights for her own benefit, she ought to have them, not only for her own benefit, but for the benefit of the whole creation, not only the women, but all the men on the face of the earth, for they were the mothers of them. Therefore she ought to have her God-given right, and be the equal of men, for she was the resurrection of them. There was another question which lay near her heart, and that was the condition of the poor colored people around Washington, remnants of the slavery which was ended by the war. Sojourner earnestly urged that land be given to these poor people in order that they might be made self-supporting, and concluded her remarks by saying, in her naive way, that she would stop before she was stopped."


" The American Sibyl .--Sojourner Truth, whom Mrs. Stowe has honored with the title of 'The American Sibyl,' is spending a few days in our city, and we hope our citizens will have the pleasure of listening to her graphic descriptions of the condition of the freedmen of the city of Washington, where she spent three years during the war in nursing and teaching the poor soldiers and the emancipated people who followed the army. She has been there again recently, endeavoring in her zeal and goodness of heart to help the aged colored people to find comfortable homes in some rural district. She has spoken in nearly all the cities, and has just come from Fall River, where she spoke in two of the churches to large and enthusiastic audiences, who listened with delight to the words of wit and wisdom which fell from the lips of the ancient colored philosopher. She was, as is well known, a slave in New York the first forty years of her life, and since her emancipation and remarkable conversion to Christianity, she has labored unceasingly for the good of her race and for oppressed humanity everywhere."

" Personal .--'Sister Sojourner Truth' was in town yesterday and visited the Woman Suffrage Bazaar, where she could not resist the movings of the spirit to say a few words upon her 'great mission,' which now is to 'stir up the United States to give the colored people about Washington, and who are largely supported by charity, a tract of land down South, where they can support themselves.' She don't believe in keeping them paupers, and thinks they have earned and enough for white people in past days to be entitled

to a small farm apiece themselves. She says she is going to accomplish her mission in this respect before she dies, and she wants an opportunity to address the people of Boston and to get up petitions to Congress in its favor. She means to 'send tons of paper down to Washington for them spouters to chaw on.' Sojourner believes in women's voting, and thinks the men are very pretentious in denying them the right. Still she thinks there has been a great change for the better in this respect the last few years. She is rather severe on the sterner sex, and asks, by way of capping her argument in favor of her sex: 'Did Jesus ever say anything against women? Not a word. But he did speak awful hard things against the men. You know what they were. And he knew them to be true. But he did n't say nothing 'gainst de women.' And solacing herself with this reflection the old heroine retired to admire the beautiful bouquets in the flower department of the Fair."

"Sojourner Truth, now in her eighty-third year, gave a thrilling address at the Fair--in the Phillips' Street Church (Rev. Mr. Grime's) on Monday evening. It was unique, witty, pathetic, sensible; and aged as she is, was delivered with a voice that, in volume and tone, was equally remarkable and striking.

"Rev. Norwood Damon succeeded her in a speech of great eloquence and power. The subject was the dependent condition and the hinderances to education of the blacks in Washington and the South, and the duty of the government to open avenues and furnish inducements to a better civilization and manhood. The venerable Sojourner will renew the subject at a

public meeting in Rev. Mr. Grime's church this evening."

"The first forty years of her life were spent in slavery in the State of New York. She became free when slavery was abolished in that State, and has devoted the remainder of her life to the cause of the freedom of her race. She is now at this advanced age engaged in a mission for their welfare. She wants the government, instead of feeding them as now, to put them on land of their own, as it does the Indians, and teach them to work for themselves. Unless this be done, she thinks the jails and penitentiaries will have to be increased. It is the only way to prevent a large amount of misery, degradation and crime in the present and future generations. She carries with her three small books in which she has inscribed the autographs of nearly all the eminent people in America. This she proposes sometime to have printed in fac similes . She calls them the 'Book of Life.'"