Truth was renowned in her time for her speaking and singing ability. As a person who could neither read nor write, she had people read to her, especially the Bible, and from this she developed her unique voice about how the world worked and how it could be improved. She sounds like a down-to-earth preacher in many of her speeches.
Sojourner Truth, a prominent abolitionist and women’s rights activist, was born into slavery in New York. Truth’s parents were slaves in Ulster County, New York. Details about her childhood are not recorded, but it is clear that her name was Isabella. She gave birth to five children.
After escacping slavery in 1827 by fleeing to a Quaker family’s home, she moved to New York and became heavily involved with moral reform, religion, and street preaching. Her escape came only a year before mandatory emancipation in New York State.
She became a popular figure in the community and then changed her name to “Sojourner Truth.” In the mid 1850’s, she moved to Battle Creek, Michigan.
Truth later became involved with the women’s suffrage movement, organized petitions, and even suggested creating a “Negro state” in the West.
She delivered her speech, “Ain’t I a Women,” at the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Ohio. The speech was focused on the rebuttal of antifeminist arguments and the progression of women’s rights.