On Nov. 26, 1883, celebrated abolitionist Sojourner Truth died in Battle Creek, Michigan, from decrepitude; however, understanding Truth’s indomitable spirit has the potential to inspire, motivate and educate apathetic Americans about the value of civil disobedience.

Born in the waning years of the 18th century, Truth, then named Isabella, grew to understand the barbarity of slavery from a young age. “One Sunday morning," Truth’s friend Olive Gilbert later wrote in the autobiography "The Narrative of Sojourner Truth," “she was told to go to the barn. On going there,” Gilbert continues, “(New York slaveowner John Nearly) whipped her till the flesh was deeply lacerated.“

Truth faced, firsthand, the deleterious effects of American slavery, but, nevertheless, Truth’s writings, after her manumission in 1826, evinced her fellow abolitionists’ resolute ethos. Truth imbibed pre-eminent abolitionists’ ideals into her revolutionary speech, "Ain't I a Woman?” Delivered at the Ohioan Women’s Convention in 1851, Truth’s speech called for abolition, women’s rights and an equalitarian state where arbitrary differences based on race and sex would be dissolved into the ash heaps of history.

Despite all her hardships, Truth emanated daring heroism and civil disobedience, daunting feats for a woman whom society viewed as being valueless.

Matt Holter,


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