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Sojourner Truth entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
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Sojourner Truth, a charismatic religious and political leader (Christian revivalist, abolitionist, and feminist) in the northern states of the USA in the mid-nineteenth century, dictated her life story, a spiritual autobiography or slave narrative, to a literate transcriber in 1850. Her texts are problematic because of the other voices (voices of literate white well-wishers) which interpose themselves between author and reader. Her art was oral; she was a speaker and preacher rather than a writer (though her works include poetry as well as speeches). As a celebrity in her lifetime, she was much observed and written about, but her transcribers mostly seem to have succumbed to the temptation of fairly radical editing.
Milestones
In or after 1797 ST was born a slave, "as near as she can . . . calculate between 1797 and 1800," Bibliographic Citation link. in Hurley, New York, the youngest but one in a family of ten or twelve children. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
1850 ST told her autobiography to Olive Gilbert, who wrote it down and had it printed in Boston that year as Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a northern slave, emancipated from bodily servitude by the state of New York, in 1828. Bibliographic Citation link.
29 May 1851 ST gave her most famous speech, now known by the catch-phrase "Ar'n't I a Woman?", at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, USA. Bibliographic Citation link.
21 June 1851 ST's speech at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, was printed in a single long paragraph in the Anti-Slavery Bugle at Salem, Ohio. Bibliographic Citation link.
23 April 1863 Frances Dana Gage, organizer of the women's rights conference at Akron, Ohio, where ST had delivered her most famous speech, printed her own transcription in the Independent, published in New York. Bibliographic Citation link.
26 November 1883 ST died at her home in Battle Creek, Michigan, USA. She was very old and had been suffering from leg ulcers. Bibliographic Citation link.
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