The Country of the Slave
I come from another field--the country of the slave.
Sojourner Truth, 18671
When Sojourner Truth spoke of her ancestors, she spoke in a general way as many African Americans might speak: We came from Africa. What she allowed her audience, for example in the remarks Harriet Beecher Stowe attributed to her in their 1853 meeting, was the general truth of African American historical experience.
You see we was all brought over from Africa, father an' mother and I, an' a lot more of us; an' we was sold up an' down, an' hither an' yon.2
Truth wrote to James Redpath of the Boston Commonwealth shortly after the publication of Stowe's essay to correct the assertion that "she was evidently a full-blooded African"3:
The history which Mrs. Stowe wrote about me, is not quite correct. There is one place where she speaks of me as coming from Africa. My grandmother and my husband's mother came from Africa, but I did not; she must have misunderstood me, but you will find my book a correct history.4
In a New York newspaper account of one of her later lectures, which dwelled on her autobiographical statements, Truth is said to have "narrated the history of her mother-in-law, who was stolen from her native land in Africa and brought to this country and sold into bondage" ( NarBk, 209). Although Truth sent Redpath her Narrative and called it