Abolitionists: Sojourner Truth


1 Note cards in Black Pen & Ink with White Envelopes (reproduction):  

Sojourner Truth(1797 – 1883) 

Abolitionist, evangelist, orator, and women’s right advocate, was born a slave named Isabella in 1797 in Ulster County, New York. Abused by several masters, she was set free by Isaac Van Wagener when he bought her just before New York State outlawed slavery in 1827. Isabella took Van Wagener’s name until she renamed herself in 1843 when she responded to a spiritual calling to “travel up and down the land.” Isabella and fellow slave Thomas had five children. Upon her emancipation she went to court to get back her son who was sold South illegally. She supported herself and her two youngest children as a domestic in New York City. Introduced to feminist abolitionism during her stay at the Northampton Association of Education and Industry in Massachusetts, Sojourner became a dynamic speaker in that state for a decade despite her limited reading and writing ability. Truth’s famous “Ain't  I a woman?” was recorded from one of her speeches. Truth dictated a Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Bondswoman of Olden Timeswhich was published in 1850. The seventh edition of the autobiography included the text of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Sojourner Truth, the Libyan Sibyl.” The sales of the narrative were Truth’s major source of income for two decades. Truth settled in Battle Creek, Michigan, before the Civil War. During the War, she gathered supplies for black soldiers. In 1864, she visited President Lincoln at the White House and helped to integrate streetcars in Washington, D.C. She accepted a position with the National Freedman’s Relief Association counseling ex-slaves during which time she encouraged resettlement in Kansas and Missouri. Sojourner Truth visited in Peterboro as early as 1851. In her own hand, spelling, and grammar she wrote to Gerrit Smith March 23, 1871, “I would like to come out to Peterboro and have a meeting there and see you and more(.)” “I would like to stay a day or two and have a meeting.” “(P)lease to send me an answer on return until my grandson is with me.” Born the same year as Gerrit Smith, Sojourner died in 1883 – nine years after Smith’s death.


 Inducted in 2007 to the

National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum

5255 Pleasant Valley Road        P.O. Box 55 Peterboro NY 13134


Artwork by Joseph Flores


A community heritage gift shop, located within the Visitors Center on the Gerrit Smith Estate, National Historic Landmark, in Peterboro NY. The Mercantile is staffed and operated under the management of the Smithsield Community Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic Peterboro.


Add to Cart:

Copyright © 2021 Peterboro Mercantile. Powered by Zen Cart