I never determined to do anything and failed – SOJOURNER TRUTH. (Most essential statement about her life)
I’ve been reading THREE books at the same time. I started with a soft copy of AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED but then NEPA took their light for four good days and I was extremely bored, so I went to the bookshelf and found this SOJOURNER TRUTH and since it was a small read, I finished on time and started LOTTERY WINNER by MARY HIGGINS CLARK.
My dad imbibed in me the culture of reading books. Growing up, he would buy a set of books and “command” that I read one every month. Other times he would just buy one big novel and “order” that I give him a review once I’m done. I remember him buying one KEMA CHIKWE’S book for me.
And so, thanks to NEPA, I opened the shelf and I found some of my old treasures!
The TREASURES!!! Bible collections and some stories of GREAT PEOPLE!
When I saw them, I had this nostalgic feeling. I remember they used to be 10, but were now 8. My younger brother and I had some how misplaced THE PILGRIMS PROGRESS AND ABRAHAM LINCOLN (when that happened my mother almost made our life unbearable. Lol). To be precise, I found the cover of Abraham Lincoln in a waste bin in my Umuahia boarding school, my brother had given it to someone and that wicked someone couldn’t just keep it well. God will Judge! 😦
Anyways, after much admiration, I decided to read SOJOURNER TRUTH again. I’ll do a quick review.
This particular book on SOJOURNER TRUTH was published by the YOUNG READER’S CHRISTIAN LIBRARY. And it was written just for readers ages 8-12. Total of 192 pages.
Summary of the little book :
Freedom’s call was loud and clear to Sojourner Truth. She was born a slave in the late 1700s. She worked hard to earn her release only to be cheated by her master. She fought to keep her family together. But Sojourner Truth knew that God wanted her, and her people, to be free…and her faith and strong will helped her escape the bonds of slavery. Then she spoke out boldly for the rights of the oppressed, both blacks and women. Sojourner Truth heard the call of liberty and courageously helped her nation proclaim freedom for all.
It was in this book I heard the word FEMINIST for the first time. I didn’t really understand it then, I was barely 10. But growing up I have to come to embrace this beautiful word and all of its ideologies because great women like Sojourner Truth made changes by identifying with it.
Page 139: …A feminist who had wit and wisdom.
Her days at Northampton turned into the perfect training ground for her work as an abolitionist and feminist.
I would learn about other great women too like JOSEPHINE GRIFFING (A feminist and abolitionist friend of Sojourner Truth) and OLIVE GILBERT (An early feminist)
Sojourner Truth proclaimed the truth in simple terms ; For people who had sound logic, racism and sexism were unacceptable.
Page 137 : Blacks and women have all been thrown down so low that nobody thought we’d ever get up again…but we will come up again, and now here I am… (She said this while she was jeered by hostile men at a women’s right convention in New York)
She was a hymn writer and one of the first black women in the history of the United States to win a court case.
She had lecturers who advocated that women should be given the same political and legal rights as men. Through out her entire life, she had struggled with the double burden : being both black and a woman in a society that imposed severe restrictions on both groups. She fought for these rights and she won.
In 1858, someone interrupted a speech and accused her of being a man; Truth opened her blouse and revealed her breasts.
Sojourner told her audience that she owned her own house, as did other women, and must therefore pay taxes. Nevertheless, they were still unable to vote because they were women. Black women who were slaves were made to do hard manual work, such as building roads. Sojourner argues that if these women were able to perform such tasks, then they should be allowed to vote because surely voting is easier than building roads.
Page 21 of this book broke me : …Belle (i.e Sojourner Truth) found Mr. Neely heating some metal rods over red-hot coals. Without any explanation, Mr. Neely grabbed Belle’s shirt off, then began to beat the girl’s back until she finally fainted….It was her first beating, and she was determined never to experience another one.
Empowered by her religious faith, the former slave worked tirelessly for many years to transform national attitudes and institutions. According to Nell Painter, Princeton professor and Truth biographer, “No other woman who had gone through the ordeal of slavery managed to survive with sufficient strength, poise and self-confidence to become a public presence over the long term.”
Here is one of TRUTH’S FAMOUS SPEECH : AIN’T I A WOMAN?
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say
At her home in Battle Creek, Sojourner sank into a deep coma. She died at three o’clock in the morning, November 26, 1883. She did not fear death, she had said, for she was confident that she would be happy in heaven.
Part of the person I am today and part of the woman that I am becoming is because of the books I grew up with, the books that I am still reading and will read, and the people God blessed me with – MY Father AND MY MOTHER!
I think we should really encourage reading habits. It goes a long way.
You can read more about Sojourner Truth online or better still, pay to have my little treasure!
Ain’t I A Woman?