Sojourner Truth Dies

Preacher, abolitionist, and women's rights advocate Sojourner Truth died in Battle Creek, Michigan on November 26, 1883.

The date of Truth's birth is uncertain, but around 1797 she was born a slave called "Isabella" in Ulster, New York. Bought and sold four times, she escaped slavery in 1826 when her owner failed to fulfill his promise to free her before the date mandated by New York law.

Nearly twenty years later, she shed the name, Isabella Van Wagener, and adopted the moniker Sojourner Truth. A prophet and sojourning minister, she spoke out against sin and slavery. Encouraged by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she added the cause of women's rights to her agenda. Today, Truth is most famous for her speech "Ain't I A Woman." She attacked the idea of the "weaker sex."

I have plowed, I have planted and I have gathered into barns. And no man could head me. And ain't I a woman? I could work as much, and eat as much as man—when I could get it—and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne children and seen most of them sold into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me. And ain't I a woman?”

— Sojourner Truth

Several days before Truth died, a reporter came from the Grand Rapids Eagle to interview her. "Her face was drawn and emaciated and she was apparently suffering great pain. Her eyes were very bright and mind alert although it was difficult for her to talk." Her last words to her interviewer were, "Be a follower of Jesus Christ." Truth died on November 26, 1883, at her home in Battle Creek, Michigan, and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Battle Creek, beside other family members.