Sojourner Truth Essay

963 WordsNov 19, 20124 Pages
Sojourner Truth was born in 1797 on the Colonel Johannes Hardenbergh estate in Swartekill, in Ulster County, a Dutch settlement in upstate New York. Her given name was Isabella Baumfree, also spelled Bomefree. She was one of 13 children born to Elizabeth and James Baumfree, also slaves on the Hardenbergh plantation. She spoke only Dutch until she was sold from her family around the age of nine. Isabella suffered very cruel treatment once her first master died and she was sold to her next master, John Neely. Neely’s wife and family only spoke English and beat Isabella fiercely for the frequent miscommunications. She learned to speak English quickly, but she still had her Dutch accent. She later spoke up and said that Neely once whipped…show more content…
In 1864, she worked among freed slaves at a government refugee camp on an island in Virginia and was employed by the National Freedman's Relief Association in Washington, D.C. She also met President Abraham Lincoln in October. In 1863, Harriet Beecher Stowe's article "The Libyan Sibyl" appeared in the Atlantic Monthly; a romanticized description of Sojourner. In 1870, she began campaigning for the federal government to provide former slaves with land. She pursued this for seven years. In 1874, she developed ulcers on her leg. She was successfully treated by Dr. Orville Guiteau, veterinarian, but had to return home due to illness once more. She did toured as much as she could, still campaigning for free land for former slaves. In 1879, Sojourner was delighted as many freed slaves began migrating west and north on their own. She spent a year helping refugees and speaking in white and black churches trying to gain support for the "Exodusters" as they tried to build new lives for themselves. This was her last mission. In July of 1883, with ulcers on her legs, she sought treatment through Dr. John Harvey Kellogg at his famous Battle Creek Sanitarium. It is said he grafted some of his own skin onto her leg. Sojourner returned home and died there on November 26,
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