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born 1797

Born into slavery in upstate New York at the end of the 18th century, Sojourner Truth only spoke Dutch for the first decade of her life. That didn't stop her from becoming one of the most famous preachers and orators in the nation. Abolition + women's rights weren't just a cause. She emancipated herself at 30. And, successfully sued for the return of her kidnapped son ~ who had been sold illegally across state lines.

Sojourner spoke at Woman's Rights conventions and worked for the Freedman's Bureau. Her inspiring words are still treasured by those fighting for equality today {civil rights activist Marian Wright Edelman even wears a quote on a necklace!}.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Sojourner Truth (14)

"Is God dead?"

anti-slavery convention | september 1847

"I do not remember ever asking for any thing but what I got it. And I always received it as an answer to my prayers."

Narrative of Sojourner Truth | 1850

"And I'll have my child again. Oh my God! I know'd I'd have him agin. I was sure God would help me to get him. Why, I felt so tall within—I felt as if the power of a nation was with me!"

Narrative of Sojourner Truth | 1850

"That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any place, and aren't I a woman? … I have ploughted, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me—and aren't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man (when I could get it), and bear the lash as well—and aren't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children and seen them most all sold off into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard—aren't I a woman?"

Address at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention | may 1851

"If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!"

Address at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention | may 1851

"How came Jesus into the world? Through God who created him and woman who bore him. Man, where is your part?"

Address at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention | may 1851

"And the Lord gave me Sojourner, because I was to travel up an' down the land, showin' the people their sins, an' bein' a sign unto them. Afterward I told the Lord I wanted another name, 'cause everybody else had two names: the Lord gave me Truth, because I was to declare Truth to the people."

The Libyan Sibyl | april 1863

"Children, who made your skin white? Was it not God? Who made mine black? Was it not the same God? Am I to blame, therefore, because my skin is black?"

Sabbath School Convention | june 1863

"[R]oot up, if possible, the great sin of prejudice against color from your minds."

Sabbath School Convention | june 1863

"Does not God love colored children as well as white children? And did not the same Savior die to save the one as well as the other?"

Sabbath School Convention | june 1863

"This is beautiful indeed; the colored people have given this to the head of the government, and that government once sanctioned laws that would not permit its people to learn enough to enable them to read this book. And for what? Let them answer who can."

december 1864

"It is hard for the old slave holding spirit to die. But die it must."

to Amy Kirby Post | october 1865

"There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights, but not a word about the colored women; and if colored men get their rights, and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before."

American Equal Rights Association | may 1867

"We talk often of a beginning, but there is no beginning but the beginning of a wrong."

Daily Inter Ocean {reprinted in Narrative of Sojourner Truth, 1881} | january 1881
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curated with care by Pauline Weger {july 2014}