charcoal on paper
14" x 11"
Born into slavery in 1797, Sojourner Truth (born Isabella Van Wagenen)
became a unique and powerful voice for the rights of women and blacks in the
Freed by the 1827 eradication of slavery in New York, she fought a court
battle to regain custody of her youngest son Peter, who had illegally been
slavery in Alabama. Victorious, they moved to New York City, where the development
of her spirituality eventually led her to seek higher pursuits.
In 1842, Truth
became a traveling preacher, speaking not only of her relationship with God,
but of her experiences as a woman and ex-slave. Her straight talk
and remarkable presence made her a renowned speaker on the lecture circuit,
known for her 1851 speech “Ain’t I A Woman?” delivered at
woman’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio.
Though illiterate, Truth dictated her memoirs and published them in 1850 as
The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave. Following the issuance
Emancipation Proclamation, Truth moved to Washington, D.C., where she met with
President Lincoln, and focused her enormous talents on the National Freedmen’s
Relief Association, the Federal Freedman’s Bureau and the American Woman
Suffrage Association. Her final campaign involved the development of a land
distribution program for former slaves, which she was unable to pass through
her death in 1883.
For her ability to rise above the societal norm imposed upon women and blacks
in the 1800's, Truth serves as a national symbol for all those working to
establish equality and justice.
All images on this site are copyright © 2008 by Tom Block Arts.
Please contact the artist for use of these images.