[Home] [Book] [Expand] [Collapse] [Help]

Clear Search Expand Search


Truth, Sojourner
Narrative of Sojourner Truth



" Sojourner Truth .--Sojourner Truth was born a slave in the family of Colonel Hardenburgh, near Swatakill, in Ulster County, New York, and sold away from her family when about ten years old. She remained in Ulster County forty years, a slave, and had, during that time, numerous owners. She obtained her freedom under the Act of Emancipation in the State of New York. After her freedom she lived in the city of New York a number of years, and in Massachusetts, at Northampton, about twenty years. During all this time she traveled through every

section of the country, laboring to promote the welfare of her race. She worked without fee or reward. She then went to Michigan, where she has resided since that time. She has devoted her life to the interest of her suffering race. During the war, under President Lincoln's administration, she spent her time among the freedmen in and around Washington, teaching the women how to perform their domestic duties. She is now over eighty years, and has secured a little home at Battle Creek, in Michigan. The past summer she purchased a barn, and had it converted into a comfortable dwelling-house. It is encumbered with a mortgage of nine hundred dollars, and to clear this place of debt, she is now on a visit to her friends, and proposes to visit President Grant, at Washington. Sojourner is remarkably active and bright for a person of her age. She has endured much hardship, and deserves the aid of her friends."

--Frank Leslie's Illustrated Paper .

" Sojourner Truth .--This remarkable colored lady addressed rather a small audience in the Methodist Church on Tuesday evening. It was small because it had not been sufficiently advertised; hence, comparatively few knew of her presence. Sojourner is a perfect type of her race, uneducated, but possessed of strong common sense. She was a slave forty years of her life, and when liberated, and an attempt was made to educate her, she declares she could never get beyond her a, b, abs. She is now eighty-three years old, and has been a public speaker for a great many many years. She spoke in Ph[oelig ]nixville some twenty years ago, in the old M. E. Church, and has ever since

been anxious to do so again. In her address that evening she stated that she had in her wanderings inquired now and then concerning her friend Elijah F. Pennypacker, because she knew so long as he lived she would if she visited this section have a place wherever she could 'put the sole of her foot.' She spoke in high terms of the Methodist people of West Chester, and especially of their minister, the Rev. Mr. Best, and said he was n't like the majority of preachers, who was n't in their element unless they were 'spouting,' but he was satisfied to sit at her feet and to learn the truth as she knew it. Sojourner was in the anti-slavery movement in its palmiest days, and was associated with the shining lights of that struggle, and now that the wildest dreams of those she considered enthusiastic have been abundantly realized, she has turned her attention to the amelioration of her race, and considers her mission to be the establishment of a home for old and feeble colored people in the far West, for which purpose she is endeavoring to arouse public sentiment and to interest the government.

"On Thursday afternoon she addressed the ladies of the neighborhood in the Friends' meeting-house, at the corner stores."

" Sojourner Truth .--Earnest, self-sacrificing devotion to principle, especially when its scope is to benefit humanity, is always an object of the deepest interest, whatever the race, color or condition of the individual exemplifying it. This fact explains why a large and highly respectable audience assembled last night in the Friends' Meeting House, on Lombard

Street, and listened with the deepest attention to the utterances of an old colored woman, who was a slave for forty years. That old colored woman was so earnest, so fearless and untiring a laborer for her race during the long contest between freedom and slavery that she is known and loved by thousands in every State in the Union. Very black, and without much education, she has remarkable faith in God, wonderfully clear perceptions of moral right and wrong, the most devoted love for the poor and needy, and the most untiring determination to carry forward plans for the amelioration of the condition of her race.

"She last night gave startling pictures of the degradation and suffering among the colored people at Washington and elsewhere; showed that it would pay the nation to transform those paupers into industrious, moral citizens, and concluded by detailing her plan for doing that work, and stating the objections made to it. She stated that she desired to hold a number of meetings here to induce the colored people who are in better circumstances to do something to further the best interests of the unfortunate of their race.

"When she had concluded, Mr. John Needles stated that the old lady paid her expenses in her present work by selling her photograph, whereupon a number of persons went forward and bought copies.

"Sojourner Truth jocularly denies that she ever nursed General Washington, but she says she 'has done quit' telling people how old she is. 'Sometimes folks just quit growing and stop as they is, and I specs that I has jis quit growing old and keeps on de same all de time.' This is Sojourner's explanation of her remarkable longevity."


A Pennsylvania paper thus mentions another of her meetings:--

"Old Sojourner Truth was here last Thursday night and preached a good sermon in the Methodist Church. A tremendous crowd assembled to hear and see her, and were all pleased with her address and the manner in which it was delivered."