November 18


The woman we know as Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in New York on November 18, 1797 as Isabella Baumfree (after her father’s owner, Baumfree). She was sold several times, and while owned by the John Dumont family in Ulster County, married Thomas, another of Dumont’s slaves. They had five children. In 1827, New York law emancipated all slaves, but Isabella had already left her husband and run away with her youngest child. Isabella experienced a religious conversion, moved to New York City

In 1843, she took the name Sojourner Truth and became a traveling preacher and in the late 1840s she connected with the abolitionist movement becoming a popular speaker. Sojouner was the first African American woman to speak out against slavery.  She also began speaking on woman’s suffrage. Her most famous speech, Ain’t I a Woman?, was given in 1851 at a women’s rights convention in Ohio.

She met with President Abraham Lincoln to help improve the living conditions in Washington D.C. When her grandson and companion fell ill and died, Sojourner Truth returned to Michigan where her health deteriorated and she died in 1883.


Give me, O God, the courage to seek and speak the truth no matter what the circumstances.


Google Sojourner Truth’s life and  quotes. Reflect on them. What example can her life give us in our time? Given the present polarization of our political scene, reflect on the level of racism still visible in this nation.

Suggested Reading

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:26-28

If women want any rights more than they’s got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.
Sojourner Truth

Religion without humanity is very poor human stuff.
Sojourner Truth

That little man in black says woman can’t have as much rights as man because Christ wasn’t a woman. Where did your Christ come from? . . . From God and a woman. Man has nothing to do with him.
Sojourner Truth

I am glad to see that men are getting their rights, but I want women to get theirs, and while the water is stirring I will step into the pool.
Sojourner Truth

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! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Sojourner Truth

I feel safe in the midst of my enemies, for the truth is all powerful and will prevail.
Sojourner Truth

Where there is so much racket, there must be something out of kilter.
Sojourner Truth