Sojourner Truth is one of my heroines. Born in about 1797, she was raised as Belle, a northern slave in upstate New York. When she gained her freedom through New York State law, she gave herself that fabulous new name: Sojourner Truth. Amazing! I first learned about her in a kids’ biography I came across in a used bookstore fittingly called “Hope Farm.” Sojourner remains a feisty, outspoken advocate for freedom, peace, and women’s rights. She’s inspired me ever since: I’ve even written a play about her, so I’m thrilled to share some of her wit and wisdom:
“If women want rights more than they got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.”
“I feel safe in the midst of my enemies, for the truth is all powerful and will prevail.”
“Then I will speak upon the ashes.
“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down, these women together ought to be able to turn it right again.”
“Where there is so much racket, there must be something out of kilter.”
“If it is not a fit place for women, it is unfit for men to be there.”
“We have all been thrown down so low that nobody thought we’d ever get up again; but we have been long enough trodden now; we will come up again, and now I am here.”
“Because of them I can now live the dream. I am the seed of the free and I know it. I intend to bear great fruit.”
“Life is a hard battle anyway. If we laugh and sing a little as we fight thegood fight of freedom, it makes it all go easier.”
“I will not allow my life’s light to be determined by the darkness around me.”
“And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I hve ploughed and lanted, and gathered into barns, and no man could heal me. And ain’t I a woamn? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get get—and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman?”
“We work as much, we eat as much, we want as much.”
“It is the mind that makes the body.”
“I am going home like a shooting star.”
Emboldened and inspired by Sojourner words and spirit, let’s all write on!