Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Sojourner Truth

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Sojourner Truth was born a slave named Isabella Baumfree sometime in 177 in Ulster county, New York. The exact date of her birth is to this day unknown, but it is believed to have been sometime during the fall. She developed her characteristics of courage and dependability from her mother, Mau Mau Bett, at an early age. Isabella was first owned by a Dutch named Charles, who was happened to be a decent slave owner. At his death, she was separated from her mother and auctioned to another set of plantation owners, the Neelys. Isabella was highly mistreated here as they took their dislike of the Dutch community out on Isabella, who spoke hardly a word of English. She was bought and sold three times within the next twenty-four months, the final purchaser being a man named John Dumont for the incredibly low bargaining price of three hundred dollars.

Dumont needed more slaves for his New York plantation. He always bragged that Isabella was the hardest working slave on the plantation. Seeing this, he forced her to marry a fellow slave known as Tom. Isabella gave birth to five children within the next five years. Two years before the emancipation act of 188, in which all slaves within New York were freed, Dumont promised Isabella that if she were to work extra hard the next year, he would set her free a year early. She did just that; she was the even harder working already hardest working slave on the plantation.

In her speeches, she spoke of the living conditions many slaves were forced to endure, crowded together into cabins with no privacy, overworked, fed scraps in many cases, and clothed raggedy scraps. Her audiences must have felt the shame as Truth recalled the auction block, upon which men and women alike were frequently forced to strip and stand before potential buyers, who would search their bodies for marks of the whip or of wrist or leg irons, the presence of which would indicate the slave had been frequently punished. The slaves would be forced to endure impersonal and degrading inspections of their teeth, muscles, and other body parts, depending on what the buyer was looking for in the purchase. When the time came, though, Dumont broke his promise. Isabella, realizing she had been tricked, escaped with her infant child in her arms in October of 187 to the refuge of a Quaker family.

She became an outspoken advocate of womens rights as well as blacks rights. In 184, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth. Everywhere she spoke she made a lasting impression. She was physically strong and over six feet tall and she had a powerful, booming voice.

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As a speaker, Sojourner Truth became known for her quick wit and powerful presence. She would never be intimidated. Because of her powerful speaking ability, independent spirit and her six foot frame, she was often accused of being a man. She ended that in Silver Lake, Indiana when she exposed herself to the audience that accused her.

In the 1850s, she wrote a book, which was published by William Lloyd Garrison. She was influenced to write poems and books because of her experiences with racism and slavery. Harriet Beacher Stowe, the author of Uncle Toms Cabin, also wrote about an encounter she had with Ms. Truth and called it “Sojourner Truth, the Libyan Sibyl”. Sojourner Truth led a fulfilling life, which brought her to be the icon she has become. In 10, a robot due to explore the surface of mars was named after the African American hero. Just as Truth, the mechanical robot was traveling and in search of truth.

Many honors have been received by this remarkable woman. She did as she believed to be right, and did not care how the others felt about her message. She did everything in her power to bring about change in a nation.. She never lived to see equality between genders or the total desegregation between races. She contributed a lot to the elimination of racism.

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