Magazine article Humanities

Sojourner Truth: Circa 1799 - 26 November 1883

Magazine article Humanities

Sojourner Truth: Circa 1799 - 26 November 1883

Article excerpt

Sojourner Truth

circa 1799-26 November 1883

Black abolitionist and women's rights advocate

Named Isabella by her parents, she took the name Sojourner Truth in 1842. As a child, Isabella belonged to a series of owners, the most memorable of whom were the John Dumont family.... About 1815 she married another of Dumont's slaves, Thomas, who was much older than she; they had five children. Isabella left Thomas in Ulster County after their emancipation under New York state law in 1827, but she did not marry again . . . When a member of Dumont's family illegally sold Isabella's son into perpetual slavery in Alabama, she took another remarkable step for a slave: she went to court and sued successfully for her son's retum....

Truth settled with the Northampton Association, a utopian community dedicated to the cooperative manufacture of silk... The Northampton Association had been founded in 1842 by several idealists, including George Benson, brother-in-law of the leading white Boston abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison. The tenor of the Northampton Association was quite liberal; blacks were allowed access, and deep convictions about antislavery and women's rights were taken for granted. Reformers such as Garrison, the black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and the British antislavery member of Parliament George Thompson visited the community. Truth made her first appearance at an antislavery meeting in New York City in 1845 ..When the association collapsed in 1846. …

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