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Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth “Sojourner Truth, Fearless Crusader,” by Helen Stone Peterson. The book had two hundred and ninety four pages. I chose this book because people overlook this woman when thinking about African Americans who have spread positive ideas. The main character is Isabella, who later renamed herself Sojourner Truth. The book begins while she is only nine years old.

In the beginning she is a naive and scared little girl, but as the book progresses, she becomes a strong and opinionated woman. The other characters are the people who help her throughout her life, and those that try and hinder her. The book is about Sojourner Truth, and the struggles she faced throughout her life due to her race. It begins with her as a nine year old girl who is frightened about being seperated from her family, and being sold to a new family. By the time she is thirteen she had been sold five times.

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Shortly after July 4, 1827, Sojourner escaped her former owner, to begin a life of her own, as a free woman. At the time she was twenty nine. By leaving her owner, she left her children. To get them back, she placed a formal complaint with a local courthouse, in Kingston, NY. The court appealed in her favor, allowing her her son.

In 1829, she and her two children moved to New York City, so that her son and daughter could have an education. She lived there for three years. In the beginning of her fourth year, a religious man invited her present employer to come to his communal country estate, so as to worship God. While there, Sojourners employer died, and she was blamed for his death. To prove that she was innocent, she went to former employers, getting letters that praised her highly. Due to this slander of her name, she took her complaint to court, where in a white jury, she was pronounced not guilty, and awarded a small sum of money.

Shortly after this, her son Peter presumably died. Feeling guilty that his childhood only consisted of beatings, Sojourner traveled around New York, New England and Massachusetts, helping people and spreading Gods word. In 1850, a book was published about Sojourners life. She was fifty three at the time. She would later attend antislavery meetings, telling people about her life, and sing the songs her mother taught her. After an antislavery/womans right meeting in Akron, Ohio, Sojourner then became a fighter for womens rights.

On Thanksgiving in 1862, Sojourner and her family brought dinner to black soldiers training near Detroit. At the age of sixty seven, she met with Abraham Lincoln. After Lincolns assassination, she met with President Johnson, and shortly after, changed laws in Washington that forced streetcar conductors to stop for black passengers. Sojourner Truth died in 1883 of a fatal illness. This book is an incredible relay of what African Americans had to face before the Civil War, and even what they continue to face now.

After reading this book I came away with an immense knowledge of the history of NY, as well as the history of a woman who helped pave the way for abolitionists, and womens rights movements. I though this book was interesting, as well as informative. Although the mood of the book was sometimes a little depressing, the characterization was good, and the imagery was interesting, as was the symbolism. These literary techniques helped to enhance the picture of what the people had to live through. All in all, I really enjoyed reading it.

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