Sojourner Truth was born around 1797 with her given name Isabella Baumfree. She was called Belle for short.
President John Adams
Belle's master died when she was about three years old. His son Charles inherited her and many other slaves.
Soon after her master's death, Isabella's mother Betsy had another child. His name was Peter.
President Thomas Jefferson
Sold For the First Time
When Belle was about nine, her master Charles died. Her father was turned out and she was sold for $100 with a flock of sheep.
Belle was raised speaking Dutch. Her new masters, the Neelys spoke only English, so she was often beaten because she could not understand. Belle's mistress tried to teach her. Whenever she got a word wrong, Mrs. Neely would slap her.
Belle's father came back and saw how badly she was treated. He convinced a fisherman named Martin Schryver to buy her.
President James Madison
Belle found out that her mother and father had died not soon after she was bought. The Schryvers were kind to her, but they didn't last long. She was soon bought again for three hundred dollars because she was very tall and strong by then.
Life At the Dumonts
Mr. Dumont would always brag about Belle, but Mrs. Dumont did not like her one bit. She told the white maids to give her a hard time.
Belle fell in love with a slave named Robert. He was not owned by Mr. Dumont, so he secretly visited her. When his master found out, he beat Robert. He stopped going.
Mr. Dumont found Belle a slave to marry. His name was Thomas. They had five children: Diana, Elizabeth, Hannah, Thomas, and Sophia.
A New Law
A new law was made that all slaves born before July 4, 1799, would be freed by July 4, 1827. She and Thomas would be free in ten years! Dumont promised he would free them a year earlier if they worked extra hours.
President James Monroe
Missouri Compromise Act
President John Quincy Adams
Belle hurt her hand on a scythe, a sharp tool used to cut grass. It wouldn't heal. Then freedom day came. Mr. Dumont refused to free her. He said she couldn't have done the extra work with the wound. So she took Sophia and ran.
Belle went to a family called the Van Wagners. She worked for them and they payed her for her work.
Free For A Fee
John Dumont caught up with her at the Van Wagner's. They payed $20 for her freedom and $5 for Sophia.
Belle found out that her son Peter had been sold out of state. This was illegal. So she went to court and filed a complaint. The Judge agreed with her and Peter was freed.
Peter and Belle worked for the Van Wagners. Sophia went to stay with the Dumonts. Soon Tom was freed. He was very weak and he died. Then they moved to New York so Peter could get an education.
Belle became inspired by Jarena Lee, a female minister. She also became a minister at her church. Peter was struggling, though. He started to steal and lie. Belle sent him to be a sailor.
President Andrew Johnson
President Martin Van Buren
President WIlliam Henry Harrison
President John Tyler
Belle changed her name to Sojourner Truth, Sojourner meaning Traveler and Truth meaning Truth. :) She spoke out against slavery and unequal treatment to black people and women.
President James K. Polk
President Zachary Taylor
President Millard Fillmore
Fugitive Slave Act passed
Ain't I a Woman?
Sojourner Truth's most famous speech is now known as "Ain't I a Woman?" Historians believe that it is highly unlikely that she used the phrase "Ain't I a Woman?" in her speech.
President Franklin Pierce
President James Buchanan
Dred Scott decision (court case)
President Abraham Lincoln
Civil War begins
Civil War ends
President Andrew Johnson
President Ulysses S. Grant
President Rutherford B. Hayes
Sojourner Truth died November 26, 1883 at 86 years old.
Sojourner Truth never learned to read.
Historians aren't sure how many children she had.
A space ship built by NASA was named "Sojourner" after her.
She was the first black woman to be on a postal stamp!