Arago: Exhibits

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Fighting for Equality: Sojourner Truth

Two inspirational women - Isabella Bomfree (“Sojourner Truth”) (1797-1883) and Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) - represent the efforts of innumerable others in the quest to free the enslaved and promote racial equality. Both women dedicated their lives to ensure that all people receive the same basic rights and freedoms, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or gender. The United States commemorated their efforts with the issue of several postage stamps.

Isabella Bomfree was born about 1797, a slave in New York. In 1826, her son’s owner sold the child into slavery in Alabama. Isabella sued for his return and won the case. She received her freedom in 1828 and soon after had a religious conversion. She changed her name to Sojourner Truth and began to preach and travel. She became involved in a group that supported abolition of slavery and the advancement of women. She helped freed slaves find jobs, taught them homemaking skills, and petitioned Congress to give land to former slaves. Although she was unable to read and write, she dictated her autobiography The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave. She continued to dedicate her life to preaching, promoting women, and helping former slaves start their new lives.

22c Sojourner Truth single

Sojourner Truth was a prolific speaker whose messages helped empower women and facilitate change. Her most famous speech “Ain’t I a Woman” promoted her goal of including black women in the women’s rights movement. The Sojourner Truth stamp was issued in 1986.