The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave

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Nov 01, Pages Buy. Nov 01, Pages. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. Narrative of Sojourner Truth is one of the most important documents of slavery ever written, as well as being a partial autobiography of the woman who became a pioneer in the struggles for racial and sexual equality. Sojourner Truth, born Isabella, a slave in Ulster County, New York, around , became an abolitionist, orator, and preacher, and eventually an icon for strong black women.

She was emancipated by state law in , and the following year she… More about Sojourner Truth. Margaret Washington deserves our gratitude for reclaiming Truth and shedding light on the most enigmatic black woman of the 19th century. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you purchase this book from your favorite retailer. Read An Excerpt. Paperback —. Add to Cart. About Narrative of Sojourner Truth Narrative of Sojourner Truth is one of the most important documents of slavery ever written, as well as being a partial autobiography of the woman who became a pioneer in the struggles for racial and sexual equality.

She's interested Buyer beware! She's interested in bashing slavery and discussing Christian revival denominations of the s. Even though, I hate slavery and have an interest in Christian history, I found Gilbert annoying and dull. She has an American icon as her subject, yet chooses pious ramblings and preachiness over presenting the facts of the story. During the final chapter, it becomes evident that Gilbert wrote this as a way to raise rent money for Sojourner Truth. I'm glad they paid the landlord, but I'm disappointed that they couldn't do it with a better book. She stands as one of my pinnacle heroes.

The entire narrative is one huge quotation so I won't try and lay out all of the places I have marked in my copy of this narrative. But I do want to share one passage that lights me up every time I read it. Now he appeared to her delighted mental vision as so mild, so good, and so every way lovely, and he loved her so much! And, how strange that he had always loved her, and she had never known it! And how great a blessing he conferred, in that he should stand between her and God! And God was no longer a terror and a dread to her. Sep 30, Pink rated it it was ok.

I'd like to read the real story written by Sojourner Truth please. Without any teasing about things that were left out to protect people's identities. I could also do without the religious sermonising. Apart from that it's a fine example of slave narratives that were white washed for people's palates. View 1 comment. Oct 18, LaRae rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Sojourner Truth had amazing courage and faith -- What an inspiration. Her story deserves to be read. Some of the religious aspects of her journey were weird like cultish weird but everything she learned about God she learned on her own, and faith was such an important part of her journey.

This was really good and interesting. The language is dated and a bit too much God for my atheist tastes but standard in this type of narrative. I own a digital copy of this book and listened to the audiobook on hoopla. I did not care for the audiobook at all. Mar 22, Sarah W. This book was very good.

It had a lot of details about her life.

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Over all, I thought this book was good! The third slave narrative I have been reading over the past few months, the most religious one which depicts how the slave gained liberty through the formal abolition of slavery in the State of New York and how she moves on to be one of the most remarkable preachers in Massachusetts, attracting the religious and taming the hideous.


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In contrast with Harriet Jacobs's account, it doesn't really stick to the femininity in the matter of slavery and interestingly, it's written by someone else as if So The third slave narrative I have been reading over the past few months, the most religious one which depicts how the slave gained liberty through the formal abolition of slavery in the State of New York and how she moves on to be one of the most remarkable preachers in Massachusetts, attracting the religious and taming the hideous.

In contrast with Harriet Jacobs's account, it doesn't really stick to the femininity in the matter of slavery and interestingly, it's written by someone else as if Sojourner Truth must have recounted it. Somehow the apocalyptic depictions of mobs and how she stands against them all alone is very interesting!

I still prefer her speeches, though! Sojourner Truth was born Isabella, a slave, in New York just before She was emancipated when New York abolished slavery in , and a few years later, she took a new name for herself and began a new career as an itinerant preacher. She quickly became famous for her stirring speeches and her championing of the rights of black people and women, and today she's one of the most famous African-American women of the Civil War period along with Harriet Tubman. The edition of her Narrative is made up of several parts. Then, there's "The Book of Life", one of Truth's scrapbooks which was added to the Narrative by her friend Frances Titus also white , containing articles about Truth, correspondence with her, and a set of autographs of famous people she had collected.

Sojourner Truth: 3 Pivotal Moments That Define Her Fearless Life

After Truth's death, Titus added "A Memorial Chapter", containing obituary notices and poems and an account of Truth's funeral. This accruing of material and editing by Truth's friends results in a multilayered story of her life, often surprisingly obscure, and I was glad to have Painter's biography of Truth to read after the Narrative.

Painter also provides an extremely useful introduction to the Penguin edition of the Narrative, so it's not absolutely necessary to read her biography; I just liked the expanded analysis there. I was especially impressed by Painter's discussion of the difference between the real Truth and how her friends and editors portrayed her. For instance, lots of articles about her quote her as speaking with a Southern dialect she wouldn't have used, since she was from the North; many white people would have thought this the normal way for all black people to speak, since black people were associated so strongly in their minds with Southern slavery.

Yet Truth wasn't simply content to be seen as others wanted to see her; Painter examines also how she chose to portray herself and how she created her own persona. The strength and intelligence of Truth's personality shine through all of the multiplicity of sources of the Narrative; Painter's incisive analysis helps make clear the outlines of Truth's life and provides an even more vivid portrait of her character.

I was pleased to have read the Narrative and gotten to know more about a woman I really knew only by name, and I was even more pleased to follow that up with such an excellent biography. View all 3 comments. Jan 04, Antoine Dumas rated it did not like it. This is not the narrative of Sojourner Truth.

The slant towards the white interveners might have to do with the fact that the entire narrative seems to be an appeal to the community to provide for Truth in her old age. All the same, the book is an interesting glimpse into what life was like in New England in the early-to-mid s.


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I hadn't expected this book would be so deeply-seated in sermon. Religious texts are something that I struggle with, it's a personal struggle, it's nothing against the text, but my experiences just mean that I really find it hard to relate to sermons or religious texts. And yet, I learnt so much from Sojourner Truth, or, Isabella, as she was also known. There were parts of this story that commanded my attention. Truth took a white man to court, after the white man illegally stole her son.

She wa I hadn't expected this book would be so deeply-seated in sermon. She was ruthless in her pursuit of her son, of justice, of this case, and that is why I wanted to read this book. There are many slave narratives out there, and so few of them are written by women. And here in this book, I felt her mother's love, her sense of justice and her tireless pursuit. Next on the list, I'd love to read her most famous speech, "Ain't I a Woman? Jan 21, Claire Baxter rated it liked it.

I felt kind of bad giving this book a low score but to be honest I struggled through it and considered not finishing it. Taking nothing away from her life at all because it was a remarkable life, and this book is an important historical document, but as a reading book, it felt incoherent at times and jumped around between first and third person and also between time periods so I wasn't always sure who exactly they were talking about. It was interesting to learn about slavery in the north as that I felt kind of bad giving this book a low score but to be honest I struggled through it and considered not finishing it.

Audiobook Olive Gilbert and Sojourner Truth – The Narrative of Sojourner Truth

It was interesting to learn about slavery in the north as that's a side you don't normally get, and there were some other points that hit home for me that I was able to takeaway but overall I didn't enjoy reading this book just because of the style of writing. This is an important piece of historical literature by Sojourner Truth to primarily point out the evils of slavery. It is helpful to read a biography of her first and be familiar with her life.

This little volume was penned for her by someone else, as she could not read nor write. This narrative was published for her to sell as a way to help support herself as she traveled about speaking against slavery. This only covers the beginning of her life, and she had many more adventures that followed t This is an important piece of historical literature by Sojourner Truth to primarily point out the evils of slavery.

This only covers the beginning of her life, and she had many more adventures that followed this account. The woman writing this for her does insert some of her own interpretations, ideas, and examples, so this is not precisely in her own words.

Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth

Worth being aware of. Jan 17, Sara rated it did not like it Shelves: worst. Normally, reading a book for school doesn't ruin it for me. This time Well, I expected it to be slightly interesting, at least. The life sounded slightly interesting. She sounded fierce enough. But it wasn't. No engaging characters, no engaging plot. I didn't finish it. There's a test on it coming soon, and we shall see if I reread it. At this point I would rather fail the test than reread the book.

Does that imply how awful it is? This narrative isn't the most thrilling read. In part that is because of the style of the time, and it is because Truth is holding back. But it is worth reading simply to get to know the famous woman a bit more. The best passages are those about family, in particular, her relationship with her son. Sep 25, Vaishali rated it it was amazing Shelves: biographies.

Be prepared for parts that are graphically harrowing. A living testimony of human cruelty on the one hand and triumphant compassion on the other. What an amazing, amazing woman. This book showed me how a woman can make a change despite the unfair age she lived in, remarkable strong woman who contributed to shaping of society in her own way!! Mar 26, Terris rated it really liked it Shelves: classics.

So interesting -- so sad!! Amazing woman! Sojourner Truth's narrative seems to be overlooked compared to some of the more well-known slave narratives. Hers offers a different perspective than the typical narrative, which usually involves a villainous slave master, and an ambitious fugitive slave. Truth was a northerner, born in New York, and spent most of her life in the North, an area that Americans historically associate as a place of refuge for runaway slaves.

This is a myth, and probably why Truth's narrative is overlooked. As a sla Sojourner Truth's narrative seems to be overlooked compared to some of the more well-known slave narratives. As a slave in the North, some readers, may find it surprising that slaves underwent similar deplorable treatment as slaves in the South.

The thing that seems to separate Truth's narrative from others that I have read is her relationship as it pertains to God. It is interesting to see how the circumstances of her life change and affect her beliefs about God, Jesus, etc. She talks to god directly frequently, as she relies fervently on prayer to God for assistance. Just like many of the other slave narratives that I've read, Truth's story is a testimony to the resiliency of the human spirit.

It is proof once again, that with the right mindset, you can live a complete and full life of your choosing. Truth was illiterate, yet one of the most well-known speakers of her time. She spent the first forty years of her life as a slave, yet by the end of it, she had befriended some of the most well-known abolitionists and political figures in the country, including two presidents. She was a humble servant of God, using her faith as her protection when encountered by those who might do her harm. In turn, it seemed to work, as she did not meet serious harm after her days of slavery, during a time when people of color did not receive protection from the laws.

She was also financially poor, choosing to not engage in taking jobs that others blacks could benefit more from, but instead paid her way by selling her book and photographs, and donations from others who supported her cause in helping the Blacks become more independent and self-supporting. The drawbacks that I had are that Truth is not telling her own story. Yes, the narrative is about her, but because Truth was illiterate, her narrative is dictated by other writers and is even in part written in the third person, although it is her auto biography.

I think this is one of the reasons why this particular narrative is not as prominent as others—the confusion that seems to surround who Truth really was and her place in the movements of civil rights and women's rights, etc. It seems that because her story has over the years been told through others, which is apparent in the introduction of the book, where writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and others used Truth's words to help push their own agendas.

The lack of Truth not being able to write her own story has led to others shaping and molding it through their own writing. Basically, it may hold some of the spirit and details of her life, but it is not written in her voice, and it is quite evident. Knowing Truth's story is very much so worthwhile, but the writing and setup of this book make the reading of it tedious.

Part of it may be because of the time it was written, but the language could be less wordy.

Just three from her life of tumultuous change and progress.

The latter part of the book is not even biographical, but really a long catalogue of articles and writings of the announcements and reports of her various speaking engagements. Many of them redundant in nature. Also included is a brief publications of just a few of the names who signed her "Book of Life" She collected signatures for a petition to the government to set aside land for Blacks. In summary, I didn't know much about Sojourner Truth before reading this book other than her "Arn't I a Woman" speech, which I only know little about.

I think her story should be regular reading along with some of the other popular slave narratives. I do think it should perhaps be updated or the book reformatted for easier reading, which I think is one of the drawbacks of this book. The story is great, it's just that the writing is not all that great, but she, of course did not write it herself. I was aware of this but for those who are not, her story speaks truth to the fact that slavery was brutal and inhumane across the board, and not just in a particular part of the country i. I also learned that it's important to follow your calling in life.

Truth had a calling and even changed her name to match it. Her calling was to Sojourn across the nation and speak out the truth and to testify against the many evils that existed against women, blacks, and humanity across the board. She lived a brutal first 40 years as a slave, yet she lived longer, traveled farther, and befriended more than many she knew. She had a striking wit that stayed with her until her last days, and she could control any audience. Book learning is not everything. Truth once said that "you all read books, but God speaks to me directly. Apr 10, Benjamin Marcher rated it really liked it Shelves: bios-and-memoirs.

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It's brevity is matched only by its powerful, illuminating narrative. I find the brevity, the bare-bones need-to-know simplicity of many slave narratives to be their defining and best feature, as they bring forth powerful images of a forgotten time with a valuable sense of urgency. Feb 26, Lynn M. This narrative about the life of Sojourner Truth was dictated to her friend Olive Gilbert in However, Sojourner Truth who was born as Isabella Baumfree, went on to live until ; so, this is only a partial account of her life.

She was born as a slave in the state of New York and spoke Dutch most of her young life. Her siblings were sold but she and one other sibling where kept along with her parents for much of her upbringing. Some accounts of her life were too painful for her to share, b This narrative about the life of Sojourner Truth was dictated to her friend Olive Gilbert in Some accounts of her life were too painful for her to share, but we know that she was not allowed to marry the man she loved but went on to join in an unofficial marriage with an older man.

She had five children and the first born is believed to belong to her master. That child always remained with the father on the farm or plantation for the rest of her life. He did not know her and had been scarred from beatings but over time, they were reunited and the three of them stayed in the city for some years. Her faith deepened and she experimented with different religions.


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  7. She always adhered to the Golden Rule and it served her when she felt as if she was losing her way. Her children grew into adulthood and her son took a job on a ship after having a few bouts with the law. She left the city because of its negative influence and moved northward.

    Isabella felt that she was called to share The Word and preach what she had learned to others. She moved north to Connecticut and took on the name of Sojourner Truth. Thus, her evangelism began, and she preached morals and responsible living to unruly crowds. After staying in Hartford for a while, the record shows that she made her way to Massachusetts. Perhaps this is where she met the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison who privately published this narrative and vouched for her strength of character at the end of the book.

    This happened in at an Ohio Women's Rights Convention, but we do get a chance to see what shaped this remarkable woman. She finally put down her traveling shoes and settled in Battle Creek, Michigan where her journey ended. Readers also enjoyed. About Sojourner Truth. Sojourner Truth —November 26, was the self-given name, from , of Isabella Baumfree, an American abolitionist and women's rights activist.

    Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, New York. Her best-known speech, "Ain't I a Woman? Books by Sojourner Truth. Trivia About Narrative of Sojo No trivia or quizzes yet. Quotes from Narrative of Sojo Thank God! Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

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