Glorying in Tribulation: The Lifework of Sojourner Truth

By Erlene Stetson; Linda David | Go to book overview

Notes
1.
[ Holley], A Life for Liberty, 62-64.
2.
Ibid., 80-81.
3.
Lucy Colman, Reminiscences, 65.
4.
Stowe, "Sojourner Truth, the Libyan Sibyl,"478. Stowe did not recall exactly which antislavery texts, so she used as her example "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof," the famous slogan of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Truth spread the banner over the pulpit in 1853 when she lectured in New York City. According to the report in the Tribune, 8 November 1853, the slogans included the even more famous "Am I not a Woman and a Sister": "Pendant from the pulpit cushion was a banner of white satin, on which was inscribed: Ashtabula County. / Am I not a Woman and a Sister! / [Kneeling figure of a woman with uplifted hands.] / How long, O Lord! how long. / A Million-and-a- half of American Women in chains. / Shall we heed their wrongs? / Will not a righteous God be avenged upon / such a Nation as this!"
5.
Wyman, American Chivalry, 107.
6.
Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture, 317.
7.
Anti-Slavery Bugle, 4 September 1852.
8.
For an attempted reconstruction of this exchange through five contemporary newspaper accounts, see Mabee and Newhouse, Sojourner Truth, 83-88.
9.
Anti-Slavery Bugle, 28 August 1852. For an analysis of the Constitutional debate between these factions, see Lewis Perry, Radical Abolitionism: Anarchy and the Government of God in Anti-Slavery Thought ( Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1973), 188-208.
10.
The passage is our translation of the following dialect rendering of Truth's vision by Joseph Dugdale, which was printed in National Anti-Slavery Standard, 4 July 1863:

Children, I talks to God and God talks to me. I goes out and talks to God in de fields and de woods. [The weevil had destroyed thousands of acres of wheat in the West that year.] Dis morning I was walking out, and I got over de fence. I saw de wheat a holding up its head, looking very big. I goes up and takes holt ob it. You b'lieve it, dere was no wheat dare? I says, God [speaking the name in a voice of reverence peculiar to herself], what is de matter wid dis wheat? and he says to me, " Sojourner, dere is a little weasel in it." Now I hears talkin' about de Constitution and de rights of man. I comes up and I takes hold of dis Constitution. It looks mighty big, and I feels for my rights, but der aint any dare. Den I says, God, what ails dis Constitution? He says to me, " Sojourner, dere is a little weasel in it."

11.
See John R. McKivigan, "The Frederick Douglass-Gerrit Smith Friendship and Political Abolitionism in the 1850s," in Frederick Douglass: New Literary and Historical Essays, edited by Eric J. Sundquist ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 205-32, for the stages of Douglass's evolution into political action and the presidential election year politics of 1852.

-156-

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Glorying in Tribulation: The Lifework of Sojourner Truth
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • One - Speaking of Shadows 1
  • Notes 24
  • Two - The Country of the Slave 29
  • Notes 51
  • Three - The Claims of Human Brotherhood 57
  • Notes 81
  • Four - Sojourners 87
  • Notes 120
  • Five - I Saw the Wheat Holding Up Its Head 129
  • Notes 156
  • Six - Harvest Time for the Black Man, and Seed-Sowing Time for Woman: Nancy Works in the Cotton Field 163
  • Notes 194
  • Appendices 201
  • Bibliography 219
  • Index 235
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