Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)

Born Isabella Baumfree, Sojourner Truth became the first black woman orator to lecture against slavery. When asked how she received her name, she replied, “I asked the Lord to give me a new name and He gave me Sojourner because I was to travel up and down the land showing the people’s sins and being a sign unto them. Afterwards, I told the Lord I wanted another name cause everybody had two names; and He gave me Truth because I was to declare the truth unto the people.”

In 1827, she escaped from her master who heartlessly sold all five of her children. She lived with a Quaker family who helped her win a lawsuit to get one son returned to her. Standing over 6 feet tall, as a speaker, Sojourner commanded respect from her audience. She could neither read nor write but she became a legendary prophetess, orator and preacher during her time.