Activist Sojourner Truth dies in Battle Creek, Michigan.
1883 (Nov 26)
Sojourner Truth died in Battle Creek, Michigan. Truth was born enslaved in 1797, with the name Isabella, in Hurley, New York. The mother of five children, she was separated from her husband prior to gaining her freedom in 1827. After her statutory emancipation in New York in 1827, Truth went to work for a "religious fanatic" named Pierson in New York City. By 1843, she had become disillusioned with Pierson and left, proclaiming that her name was no longer Isabella, but Sojourner. She said that "the Lord gave [her] Truth, because [she] was to declare the truth to the people." She became a legendary "sojourner," as she traveled about espousing abolition, women's rights, and other reforms. She held steadfastly to the belief that she was a chosen messenger of God. Though illiterate, Truth made a substantial impression upon her audiences. On one occasion, when Frederick Douglass was speaking at Faneuil Hall in Boston, he said that Blacks could not hope to find justice in America. Truth countered this pessimism by asking "Frederick, is God dead?" Truth also played a prominent role in the second national women's suffrage convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1852. During the civil war, she supported the arming of enslaved Blacks and helped care for wounded soldiers and freedmen. During the reconstruction era and until the end of her life, she urged property ownership and education as keys to Black advancement.