BLACK HISTORY: BIOGRAPHIES
Isabella Baumfree in Ulster County, New York, around 1797, she was freed
by the New York State Emancipation Act of 1827 and lived in New York City
for a time. After taking the name Sojourner Truth, which she felt God had
given her, she assumed the "mission" of spreading "the Truth"
across the country.
She became famous as an itinerant preacher, drawing
huge crowds with her oratory (and some said "mystical gifts")
wherever she appeared. She became one of an active group of black women
abolitionists, lectured before numerous abolitionist audiences, and was
friends with such leading white abolitionists as James and Lucretia Mott
and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
With the outbreak of the Civil War she raised
money to purchase gifts for the soldiers, distributing them herself in the
camps. She also helped African Americans who had escaped to the North to
find habitation and shelter. Age and ill health caused her to retire from
the lecture circuit, and she spent her last days in a sanatorium in Battle
Reprinted by permission of The
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