Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 370 pages
11 Reviews
A monumental biography of one of the most important black women of the nineteenth century. Sojourner Truth first gained prominence at an 1851 Akron, Ohio, women's rights conference, saying, "Dat man over dar say dat woman needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches. . . . Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles . . . and ar'n't I a woman?" Sojourner Truth: ex-slave and fiery abolitionist, figure of imposing physique, riveting preacher and spellbinding singer who dazzled listeners with her wit and originality. Straight-talking and unsentimental, Truth became a national symbol for strong black womenindeed, for all strong women. Like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, she is regarded as a radical of immense and enduring influence; yet, unlike them, what is remembered of her consists more of myth than of personality. Now, in a masterful blend of scholarship and sympathetic understanding, eminent black historian Nell Irvin Painter goes beyond the myths, words, and photographs to uncover the life of a complex woman who was born into slavery and died a legend. Inspired by religion, Truth transformed herself from a domestic servant named Isabella into an itinerant pentecostal preacher; her words of empowerment have inspired black women and poor people the world over to this day. As an abolitionist and a feminist, Truth defied the notion that slaves were male and women were white, expounding a fact that still bears repeating: among blacks there are women; among women, there are blacks. No one who heard her speak ever forgot Sojourner Truth, the power and pathos of her voice, and the intelligence of her message. No one who reads Painter's groundbreaking biography will forget this landmark figure and the story of her courageous life.
  

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Review: Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol

User Review  - Bev - Goodreads

One reason I appreciated this book is because of the research the author did to determine what was true (about Truth!) and what was exaggeration and fiction. Also how biases kept certain parts of ... Read full review

Review: Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol

User Review  - Ned Bustard - Goodreads

This is good history and a good read Read full review

Contents

Isabella
3
Isabella A Slave
11
Journey Toward Freedom
21
Plaintiff and Witch
32
New York Perfectionism
38
In the Kingdom of Matthias
48
Isabellas New York City
62
Sojourner Truth A Life
77
Arnt I a Woman?
164
Partisan and Aristocrat
179
Truth in Photographs
185
Presidents
200
Washingtons Freedpeople
209
Woman Suffrage
220
Kansas
234
The End of a Life
247

Northampton
88
The Narrative of Sojourner Truth
103
Networks of Antislavery Feminism
113
Akron 1851
121
Vengeance and Womanhood
132
Spiritualism
143
Sojourner Truth A Symbol
149
The Libyan Sibyl
151
The Life of a Symbol
258
The Triumph of a Symbol
287
A Note on the Sources
289
Notes
293
Acknowledgments
345
Index
349
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Nell Irvin Painter is the award-winning author of many books, including Sojourner Truth, Southern History Across the Color Line, Creating Black Americans, The History of White People, and Standing at Armageddon. She is currently the Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University and lives in Newark, New Jersey.

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