Sojourner Truth

By Nell Irvin Painter,

Book cover of Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol

Book description

Sojourner Truth first gained prominence at an 1851 Akron, Ohio, women's rights conference, saying, "Dat man over dar say dat woman needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches. . . . Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles . . . and ar'n't I a…

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3 authors picked Sojourner Truth as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Nell Painter’s biography of Sojourner Truth breaks new ground in a different way. Sojourner Truth is famous, an iconic freedom fighter and advocate for Black and female suffrage. We all know her demand for recognition, “Ain’t I a woman?” Or do we? Painter’s research reveals a much more complicated woman and investigates why history has reduced a fascinating life story to that one simple question, which might never have been asked, at least in those precise words. Read this book to find out the true story of Sojourner Truth.  

From Megan's list on women’s writing on women’s lives.

Most people who’ve heard of Sojourner Truth known her only as the Black woman who famously asked a group of white women’s rights supporters, “Ar’n’t I a woman?” Historian Painter brilliantly examines the speech Truth delivered in Akron, Ohio, in 1851 and unravels the real story behind it. Painter reveals the life of a remarkable woman who threw off the shackles of her enslavement to become one of the 19th century’s most powerful speakers on gender and racial rights.

From Theresa's list on 19th-century women’s rights activists.

In the photograph chosen for the cover of this book, Sojourner Truth’s simple but elegant dress, white shawl, and close-fitting headdress, the knitting needles in her hands, and the ball of yarn on her lap tell a story quite different from the one told by the direct gaze of her bespeckled eyes. Isabella, the slave born in Ulster County, New York in the late 1790s and whose first words were in Dutch, walked away from the abuses of slavery in 1826, learned to speak English, and in 1843, became Sojourner Truth, the preacher, orator, abolitionist, and feminist who…

From Bettye's list on notable enslaved women.

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