Sojourner (Baumfree) Truth
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Isabella (Baumfree) Truth (1797 - 1883)

Isabella (Sojourner) Truth formerly Baumfree aka Bomefree, Vanwaggener
Born in Ulster County, New York, United Statesmap
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Battle Creek, Calhoun, Michigan, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 27 Oct 2009
This page has been accessed 19,228 times.
Sojourner (Baumfree) Truth is a part of African-American history.
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Sojourner Truth was born into slavery on the Colonel Johannes Hardenbergh Estate in Ulster County, New York, with the given name Isabella Baumfree, also spelled Bomefree.

Sojourner Truth did not know how to read or write.

She worked as a housekeeper, and then later she became a traveling speaker and preacher.

Her religious feelings, was most influential to her she had changed her name from Isabella Baumfree to Sojourner Truth, which means Holy Spirit.

One of the setbacks that Isabella had overcome on her path to success was while she was free from slavery, she found out that a member of the Dumont family (who she stayed with) had sold one of her children to slavery, since the son was emancipated under New York Law, Isabella sued in court and won in his return. Another setback that she had overcome was when she settled in New York City and did missionary work for the poor, and was associated with a Christian community headed by a dynamic leader who turned out to be a scoundrel.

A defining moment in Sojourner Truth's life was when Sojourner Truth was accused of being a man because, she was about 6 feet tall, and had a masculine voice. One day at women's rights convention in Silver Lake, Indiana she exposed her breast to the audience and proved that she was not a man. Amother defining moment in he life was the "Ain't I A Woman" speech in 1851 at a Womens Convention in Akron, Ohio. It made a very large impact because, her speech talked about how black women and other women of color struggled for a place in the women's movement during the nineteenth century. She pointed out that even though the experiences of black women may be different from white women, they are still women and should be included in the womens rights movement.

Sojourner Truth possessed a powerful singing voice, and she sang whenever she spoke to crowds. As a speaker, Sojourner Truth became known for her quick wit and powerful presence. She was never intimidated because, of her powerful speaking ability, independent spirit.

Sojourner Truth was a very significant person, because she was one of the few African American woman who wanted to abolish slavery and to end woman's right sufferage.

Sojourner Truth was not the name her parents gave her. Her original name was Isabella Baumfree. She changed her name to Sojourner Truth once she started becoming more religious.

Since Sojourner grew up as a slave, she had many difficulties and set backs to overcome. When she was only nine years old she was sold to a slave owner named John Neely. While she was owned by Neely he would beat her with bundles of rod and would rape her daily. Truth was sold four different times and each of her owners would do horrible things to her. These are some difficulties that Sojourner had to overcome on her path to success.

The most influential thing in Sojourner's life would have to be religion and being a slave. Religion changed her life and it even made her change her name. Growing up as a slave made her become an abolitionist, which is somebody that supports the abolition of slavery in the U.S. Through slavery Sojourner met her husband Thomas who was also a slave. They had five children that also grew up to be slaves.

Research Notes

1850 census as Isabella Vanwaggener (thus it seems that Vanwaggener should be added in Other Last Names?) Jones-29956 13:47, 20 February 2015 (EST)


  • 1860 US federal census in Bedford, MI with daughter Elizabeth, grandson Sam (son of Elizabeth), and grandson James
  • MI deaths disputed age at death: 108, death date discrepancy: 25 Nov

Free (for now?) article reference to (cannot find) 19 Oct 1894 edition of National Baptist World, The State Journal, Savannah Echo, Twin City American

Digitized autobiography The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, dictated by the author, edited by Olive Gilbert, published in 1850

NY library digtized primary sources

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Memories: 3
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A defining moment in Sojourner's life was when she left her husband with her youngest child and worked for the family of Isaac Van Wagenen. While working with that family her youngest child was sold to a slave owner in Alabama. There was one problem, her son was emancipated under New York Law and Sojourner sued in court and actually won the case. Since this occurred this caused Sojourner to become an activist and abolitionist.

Later on in Sojourner's life she attended a Methodist perfectionist commune and became a religious prophet. Shortly after the commune fell apart. After experiencing this part of her life she became a traveling preacher. She started to speak about woman suffrage and was a very popular speaker. In 1851 she held her most famous speech, Ain't I a Woman?, in a women's rights convention in Ohio.

Sojourner Truth is a significant person in U.S. history because she actually made a difference in this world. She took all the bad events in her life and turned them into the positive by being an abolitionist and by being helping other people.

Quote: “If women want any rights more than they's got, why don't they just take them, and not be talking about it.” -Sojourner Truth

posted 30 Oct 2009 by Xander Schauffele Schauffele
Born in 1797, Sojourner Truth whos birth name was Isabella Baumfree was the daughter of Elizabeth and James Baumfree with 12 other brothers and sisters. She was born into slavery on the Hardenbergh plantation. She spoke in Dutch most her life until she was sold from her family around the age of nine. After being sold to her second master, Charles Hardenbergh she quickly learned to speak English, but had a Dutch accent for the rest of her life. After Truth's second master died she was sold multiple times until she got stuck with one, John Dumont. In 1815 she fell in love with a man named, Robert, who was owned by another man. Their love was forbidden by both masters for the children would not be their 'property'. Her first love died after being brutally beaten by his master’s son, shortly after she gave birth to his daughter, Diana. Two years later Truth got married to an older slave, Thomas who she had four more children with. Late in 1826, Truth escaped to freedom with her youngest daughter, Sophia. Truth experienced a religious change and moved to New York City and to a Methodist perfectionist commune, and there came under the influence of a religious prophet named Mathias. In 1843, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth. In the late 1840s she connected with the abolitionist movement, becoming a popular speaker. In 1850, she also began speaking on woman suffrage. Her most famous speech, Ain't I a Woman?, was given in 1851 at a women's rights convention in Ohio. Truth traveled all around the Mid West and East preaching for human rights. She was powerful figure in national social movements. Though Sojourner Truth was not an active participant in the Underground Railroad, she did assist many blacks who had previously traveled this route to freedom by helping them find new homes. Sojourner Truth returned to Michigan where her health deteriorated and she died in 1883 in a Battle Creek sanitorium of infected ulcers on her legs.
posted 30 Oct 2009 by Taylor Pederson
“I am not going to die, I'm going home like a shooting star.”

“[That little man in black says] woman can't have as much rights as man because Christ wasn't a woman. Where did your Christ come from? . . . From God and a woman. Man has nothing to do with him.”

"Ain't I A Woman" speech

posted 18 Oct 2009 by ashley diaz
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She is being honored today on the google main page.
posted by Karen Neuvirth
Much has been written about the life of Sojournertruth. In recent years she has been honoured and remembered. While in New York City Isabella (Sojournertruth) walked through the refiners fire as her understanding of Christian Faith was tested time and time again as she attempted to walk in the long shadow of the one and only Prophet Matthias! Sojournertruth introduced Prophet Matthias into the Christian fellowship of Mr Elijah Pierson. After years of hardship and suffering Sojournertruth was the last person to walk away from Prophet Matthias and the New Jerusalem or Zion which he was attempting to establish. The dramatic years which Sojournertruth spent with Prophet Matthias undoubtedly influenced her life. Prophet Matthias called himself THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH when ISABELIA left Prophet Matthias she called herself SOJOURNERTRUTH. There is much to be learnt from the time which Sojournertruth worked, lived, and endured life in and around New York. Within the new book entitled Clash of the Prophets the full story of Sojournertruth and her New York years are presented.

If you have any interest in knowing more about Sojournertruth then you are very welcome to visit my web site at: This is a true story full of melodrama, and Christian delusion as the battle between the forces of good and evil present themselves fighting for the minds, bodies, and spirits of all involved within the Zion of Prophet Matthias! Students who are preparing to write end of term essays on Sojournertruth and her New York years may find this FREE eight page informed choices guide of some help and interest. Just click on this link.

Best Regards Mike Wilkins Clash Of The Prophets.

posted by Mike Wilkins
Thank you for all of your hard work in creating this page.

Peace, Shira