navigation bar Houghton Mifflin Social Studies United States History: Early Years
Biographies Unit Biographies

Sojourner Truth 1797–1883
Worked for Equal Rights

Sojourner Truth was an African American woman born into slavery. She lived during a time when women did not have equal rights. Sojourner Truth bravely worked to end slavery and gain equal rights for women.

Truth was born and grew up in New York State. Her name at birth was Isabella Baumfree. Truth gained her freedom when New York State ended slavery in 1827. She moved to New York City, where she found work as a servant. She became religious and began going to church.

In 1843, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth. A sojourner is a wanderer. Truth set out to travel and preach. She became widely known for her powerful speeches. She persuaded many people that slavery was wrong and that women should have equal rights. In her later years, after slavery was outlawed nationwide, she worked to help African Americans find jobs and land for farming.

Comprehension Check

What did Truth do after slavery was outlawed?

Critical Thinking

Why do you think Sojourner Truth changed her name?