Portfolio Project on Sojourner Truth

PortfolioProject on Sojourner Truth


SojournerTruth was a women’s right activist as well as an abolitionist ofthe African American decent. A young Truth was born and raised intoslavery in New York, the Ulster County. However, it was not until1826 that she was able to escape to freedom with her infant daughter.Consequently, in 1828 she went to court in an effort of recoveringher son, becoming the first African American won to win ahigh-profile case against the predominantly white community (Phang,2013). Extemporaneously, Truth delivered her first well-known Speechin 1851at a women’s convention in Ohio. Consequently, her speechbecame well known and recognized during the civil war many listenerstermed it as “Ain’t I a woman?” Truth was at the forefront ofhelping recruit majority of the black into the Union Army (Baptist,2015).Truth did so much for the liberation of the black community butsuffered a lot in trying to realize her dreams. This paper aims todiscuss the life and successes of Truth.


Truthwas born to the relatively unknown James and Elizabeth Bomefree andwas one of the 12 children of the family. Truth’s family was slaveproperty to Colonel Hardenberg who ensured that the family stayed inhis massive big hilly estate (Baptist,2015).The colonel had inherited the estate from his father and went onahead to enslave people hailing from the black community as part ofthe property of the estate. Unfortunately, Charles died when Truthwas only nine years a factor, which prompted her auctioning thatnearly, cost $100 together with a flock of sheep (Forett,2012).Truth became the property of John Neely who lived in the Kingstonarea, New York. Until the time of her auctioning to Neely, Truthcould only speak Dutch.


Truthfondly described her owner as harsh and cruel, emanating from thefact the Neely with no apparent reason would result to beating herdaily and sometimes with bundles of rods. In 1808, Neely led toselling Truth to a tavern keeper, Martinus Schryver for a mere $105(Forett,2012). After 18 months, Schryver decided to sell Truth one John Dumont, awealthy businessperson who lived in West Park, New York. Despite thefourth owner being utterly kind towards her, there was aninsignificant amount of tension between Truth and Dumont’s wife,Elizabeth Dumont (Forett,2012).She would most often harass and make life unbearable for her.However, Truth at all times was a diligent servant who followed thewords of her masters to the later and was keen to fostering lastingrelations.

In1815, Truth fell in love with a fellow slave who was working in theneighboring farm called Robert. However, their relationship wasunacceptable from both their owners, as none of them wanted theirsubjects to have children with slave property belonging to otherpeople. This was because none of them would have the right to own thechildren. Robert at one time sneaked to see Truth after which hisowner discovered the ordeal (Forett,2012).Consequently, Robert’s owner beat him savagely and forbid him fromever seeing Truth again. Subsequently, Robert succumbed to theinjuries with the experience forever haunting Truth in her life.Eventually, she met someone new whom she married and together hadthree legitimate children and two others from previous involving witheither Robert or John Dumont (Forett,2012).Truth at all times strived to bring up her children in a way thatwould please her owners, as she had no alternative.

Emancipationof slaves

In1799, the state of New York legally began legislating abolition ofslavery. In reality, slaves underwent all sorts of mistreatmentranging from paternalistic and mild to sadistic and cruel. Wives,husbands, and children had to separate from one another throughorganized auctions and had to endure an unusual whipping (Rodriguez,2012). The Supreme Court in 1857 made the ruling that slaves were asubhuman property that had no rights whatsoever. The case presentedby Dred Scott, a slave that had worked to gain his liberation andthat of his family from their owner for many years one from whomTruth drew her inspiration. Subsequently, slaves had no legalchannels of protesting the mistreatment they went through.Southerners often lived in fear of open rebellion, but this was arare phenomenon. However, it was common for slaves to feignillnesses, sabotage farm properties, organize go-slows and sometimesgo to the extent of committing murder or arson (Rodriguez, 2012).Moreover, running away for either long or short periods was also acommon occurrence.

Tasteof Freedom

Ayear before the emancipation of slave in 1827, Dumont had vowed togive Truth her independence on the condition that she remainsfaithful and does well (Rodriguez, 2012). However, that was not to bethe case as she soon changed his mind purporting that a hand injury,which Truth had got working for him, made her less productive.Despite her being infuriated, she continued working for Dumontspinning not less than 100 pounds of cotton, striving to fulfill herobligatory sense towards Dumont (Rodriguez, 2012). However, in 1826she escaped with her infant daughter leaving the others behindbecause they emancipation could not provide room for theiremancipation until they had served well into their twenties.

Strugglesfor liberation

Truthfound herself to the home of the Van Wagenens’ who took her as wellas the infant baby into their home. The Van Wagenen agreed to buy herservices for the remaining part of the year until the emancipationtook effect, an agreeable agreement in which Dumont took $20(Rodriguez, 2012). Truth continued to work and live with the VanWagenens until the time the New York Emancipation Act came intoeffect. Later on, Truth discovered that Dumont had sold herfive-year-old son, Peter, to Alabama illegally. The Van Wagenen’agreed to help her take the issue to court, and it was not untilmonths of legal proceedings that she was able to get her son back,who had been mistreated by her owners (Phang, 2013). Truth at thatpoint and time became the first black women to win a case in courtagainst an oppressive white man. While staying with the Van Wagenens,Truth had a religious life to change experience and resulted inbecoming a staunch and devoted Christian. Consequently, with hernewfound faith and belief, Truth spent the later part of her lifepreaching and speaking against slavery.


Blessedwith the gift of gab, Truth gave some of the most memorable andhistorical speeches in the history of the United States. Her voiceechoed from every corner of the country in her effort and devotion inseeking to empower women and end slavery. Truth’s experience as aslave resonated with many of her audiences. With her newfound niche,Truth spoke about not only the abolition of slavery but also women’sright and prison reforms. Despite the fact that many did not likeher lectures and preaching for their sharp and witty remarks, shemanaged to have the support of the influential people of her time,and she goes down in history amongst the prominent people of alltime.


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