Sojourner Truth

Barbara J. Feldman

Sojourner Truth (born Isabella Baumfree) was one of the best-known abolitionists of the nineteenth century. Born a slave in New York in approximately 1797, she was freed in 1828. She took the name Sojourner Truth in 1843 when she began lecturing on the abolition of slavery and for women’s rights.

  • Digital Library: The Narrative of Sojourner Truth4 stars

    Although Sojourner Truth never learned to read or write, she dictated this autobiography to Olive Gilbert, a white abolitionist. Published in 1850, it tells the story of a Dutch-speaking slave child who transformed herself into a traveling speaker, abolitionist and women's right advocate. "The following is the unpretending narrative of the life of a remarkable and meritorious woman – a life which has been checkered by strange vicissitudes, severe hardships, and singular adventures."

  • Sojourner Truth Institute: Sojourner's Biography5 stars

    The Sojourner Truth Institute of Battle Creek, MI, has a terrific collection of resources for students of all grade levels. Best clicks include Legacy of Faith (an illustrated narrative biography for middle school and older), a four-part timeline of her life, In Her Times (a timeline of American history during Sojourner Truth's lifetime), and the puzzles in Test Your Knowledge. For teachers, there is a third-grade lesson plan (look for the link on the main biography page.)

  • Sojourner Truth Memorial: History of Sojourner Truth3 stars

    In 1843, Sojourner Truth moved to Massachusetts where she lived in and near Florence for eight years, and where she now has a memorial statue. Visit for a short biography and the history of her memorial. "Born a slave in upstate New York in approximately 1797, she labored for a succession of five masters until the Fourth of July, 1827, when slavery was finally abolished in New York State. Then Isabella - as she had been named at birth - became legally free."

  • Sojourner Truth in Ulster County4 stars

    Sojourner Truth was born in Ulster County, upstate New York at the end of the eighteenth century. On the campus of the State University of New York at New Paltz, a three-story library is dedicated to her. "It may seem ironic that a library is named for a woman who could not read or write. It is just as ironic that this great communicator is one of the most famous persons to come from Ulster County. She often said 'I can't read books, but I can read the people.'" This one-page illustrated biography was penned by librarian Corrine Nyquist.

  • Women in History: Sojourner Truth Biography4 stars

    This biographical vignette is published by Women in History, a non-profit project that brings history to life with live performances of historical monologues and online biographies. "Sometime around 1815, she [Isabella Baumfree] fell in love with a fellow slave named Robert, who was owned by a man named Catlin or Catton. Robert's owner forbade the relationship because he did not want his slave having children with a slave he did not own (and therefore would not own the new 'property')."

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!


    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Sojourner Truth." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 18 Nov. 2008. Web. 8 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/sojourner-truth/ >.


  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published November 18, 2008. Last modified March 12, 2014.

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