Narrative of Sojourner Truth
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Born a slave in New York state around 1797 and given the name Isabella Baumfree, Sojourner Truth soon believed that God wanted her to be a travelling preacher who always spoke the truth. She was sold three times early in her life; her third owner promised her freedom but then went back on his word. A short time after this incident, Sojourner simply walked away to freedom. She followed her calling and traveled the country, speaking to large and sometimes hostile crowds. After years of giving speeches, she had become one of the most influential African American women of the nineteenth century, but unable to write her memoirs herself, Sojourner dictated her narrative to Olive Gilbert, a white abolitionist. They were published in 1850 and are an inspirational account of this extraordinary woman’s journey through life. Sojourner Truth became a passionate leader and legendary figure in American history by challenging the social and legal barriers that oppressed both women and African Americans at that time. Although she was illiterate, she used her innate intelligence, faith in God, and sheer determination to fight against slavery and to promote women’s rights. This Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Classic includes a glossary and reader’s notes to help the modern reader better understand Sojourner’s unique place in history.