Sojourner Truth

Daily Reading for July 21

Born black and female at the end of the 18th century, Isabella Baumfree had two strikes against her—but only two. To balance the account, she stood six feet tall and had a commanding voice and personality. She used these assets to preach the gospel and for other causes as well. She preached “God’s truth and plan for salvation” in Long Island and Connecticut and arrived in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she met and worked with such abolitionists as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and Olive Gilbert. Later she went to Washington, met President Lincoln, and spoke before Congress. She spoke about abolition and woman’s suffrage as well as her own experience of slavery. She is best remembered for a speech she gave at a women’s rights conference when she noticed that no one was addressing the rights of black women.

“Dat man ober dar say dat womin needs to be helped over carriages, and lifted ober ditches and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober muddpuddles, or bigs me any best place. And ain’t I a woman? Look at me. Looka at me arm. I have ploughes and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman.”

From “Sojourner Truth (Isabella Baumfree),” in A Year With American Saints by G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber. Copyright © 2006. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

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