Sojourner Truth Button


Sojourner Truth Pin


Sojourner Truth, (1797 – 1883) abolitionist, evangelist, orator, and women’s right advocate, was born a slave named Isabella in 1797 in Ulster CountyNew 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 Times which 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 WashingtonD.C. She accepted a position with the National Freedman’s Relief Association counseling ex-slaves during which time she encouraged resettlement in Kansasand 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.


Sojourner Truth was in inducted into the National Abolition Hall of Fame & Museum (Peterboro NY) in 2007.


2.25” diameter metal shell


Mylar protective cover


Metal pin back


Artwork by Joe Flores

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