Talk:Sojourner Truth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

excessive/unnecessary quotes[edit]

Do we really need quotes around every occurence of "sold," "own," and "ownership" in the "Early Years" section? They're incredibly distracting. I assume whoever put those there did so to imply that no human being can ever truly be sold, but this is in violation of NPOV. The fact is, slavery was legal at the time, so Sojourner Truth was not sort-of-kind-of sold, she was actually sold. Besides, have you ever seen a translation of the bible that said 'And Joseph's brothers "sold" him into slavery for thirteen pieces of silver?' I'd change it myself, but the page appears to be protected. -Misfit 18:35, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. The quotation marks are distracting and unnecessary, and do indeed violate NPOV. I've made the necessary adjustments. Gitman00 21:35, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Completeness criticism[edit]

OKAY SOJOURNER TRUTH WAS A SLAVE SO WHY DONT WE HAVE AS MUCH INFORMATION ON HER????????? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 21:21, 17 February 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia is entirely community-edited. I presume that there's not much information here simply because the people who have visited this page so far haven't had a lot of information handy to add to it. If yourself you know more about her and would like to see it here, you can add it yourself - though I suggest you take the caps lock key off first. Bryan 02:23, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Why does it say she was 102 when she died? 1883-1797=86... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:10, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Speech controversy[edit]

Sojourner Truth's famous speech at the Akron Ohio never happened. A white women's rights activist named Frances Dana Gage wrote the "Ar'n't I a Woman?" speech. The convention in Akron actually never even happened, it was entirely fictionalized by Gage. User: THX-1138

It's odd to me that so many people make this argument and have absolutely nothing to back it up. I've never read or heard anything other than that Sojourner Truth did not give the "Ain't I a Woman" speech, but I am willing to learn. If you have some actual evidence or anything, let's see it.Baronsabato 07:59, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

For your info stop being ignorant; she wrote Ain't I a woman. Give me some proof that she did'nt —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 01:53, 16 January 2008

This is discussed further down in more detail - Epousesquecido (talk) 14:06, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I believe the idea that Sojourner Truth didn't give the speech is a minority opinion and definitely not settled fact. My wife has a copy of the Summit Beacon newspaper article written about the speech and discussing the conference, so it did happen and Sojourner Truth was given credit for the speech very soon after it was given. I'm no expert, so I didn't change the article, but I think it needs attending to by someone who's knowledgable. Catbar (Brian Rock) 01:21, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

I do believe the conference happened and theat Sojourner Truth spoke, but based on another discussion I've had with my wife, I'm not certain about Sojourner Truth's role in it, so I'm withdrawing my disputed notice. Catbar (Brian Rock) 05:45, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

I was just thinking that perhaps at least the article should not dinstinctly say that she did NOT speak, but at least say that it is disputed and leave it at that.

Agreed 01:57, 5 December 2005 (UTC)zcart

Completeness criticism continued[edit]

Whats funny about this article on Sojourner Truth is the complete lack of history. There is nothing about the Kingdom of Matthias, which greatly influenced her, and of course brought her to change her name to Sojourner Truth. That in itself is a great piece of history to simply ignore.

If you have more information, edit the article to include it! Help make it better. Edit away! Cabbers 23:40, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Comments about areas of Sojourner's concern[edit]

Truth ?

In the definition of Truth we often find a reference to Sojourner Truth, a political acitivist described as follows:

Truth, Sojourner. 1797?-1883. American abolitionist and feminist. Born into slavery, she escaped in 1827 and became a leading preacher against slavery and for the rights of women.

If you examine her bio, it is odd that as a black slave she was not concerned about the rights of black men, don't you think ? An obvious 'half-truth' ignoring that slavery attacked the rights of black men as well and not women in general.

--Caesarjbsquitti 15:02, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

How do you derive this interpretation from "a leading preacher against slavery AND for the rights of women"? If she was an abolitionist, she was against slavery. Period. If she was a feminist, she was for the rights of women. The two are separate; Sojourner Truth was both an abolitionist, against slavery, and for the rights of women, black and white. You should really try and read more carefully rather than jump to conclusions.Baronsabato 07:59, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the two are not separate. Sojourner Truth was a Black woman and a slave, she experienced white supremacy, slavery, and patriarchy simultaneously, and she fought them simultaneously. For her, there was no separation. And yes Caesarjbsquitti, slavery as a system did attack Black women as women. Rape and forced procreation were key components of slavery, as any serious study of the institution will show. That doesn't mean she didn't care about the human rights of Black men. To suggest that she dismissed Black men's liberation is absurd and fallacious.--Pinko1977 23:42, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Removal of uncited material[edit]

“In 2004, renowned author Bennett Golder wrote "The Truth About Sojourner Truth" a biographical account about the lies surrounding the life of Sojourner Truth.”

I can't find any reference to this on google so I assume it's not true. I'm removing it, if someone wants to revert, provide a reference 19:55, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

SOMETIME LATER: If it helps, since some time has passed, I just did a 'Net search for this alleged book and author. The only lonely hit I got was this very post! I had no idea that someone as wonderful as Sojourner Truth could inspire such negativity as I see in some of the posts here. Yours, Wordreader (talk) 01:55, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Cultural references, modern references[edit]

I see my removal of most of the Modern references section was reverted, twice. My reversion of the change was inadvertant as I have been heavily editing this article and did not see the change by someone else. I have restored the removed material but changed the heading and added one item, and plan to add one for her US postal commemorative stamp. However I do not feel this material is truly relevant to the main theme of the article and shows WP:POV as it is not balanced. Trivia sections are not considered valuable by all editors. If we must have one, additional references should be found to balance these somewhat biased ones. Comments? Epousesquecido 13:19, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I know that you are a tiring contributor, Epousesqucido, but please adheare to the 3RR. Please do not add content to WP, and than delete it. If you do look at the history of that page, you will see that 90% of the edits were made by you. This shouldn't happen, and you should stay away from making so many edits in such a short period of time, as it ties up WP's servers. Kaspazes talk 13:26, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
This article, on a very important person from US history, was a mess, and sadly neglected when I started. I took it on myself to improve it, section by section, which required a complete rewrite of most sections, and I referenced each section as I went. My area of interest in the short time I've been here is historical women and this is not the first article I've been the sole or nearly sole contributor for, while I was working on it. I do not agree that many small changes are necessarily so ineffiecient that they should be avoided, it is how many people edit. I guess I can't believe that you're criticizing me for too much editing in a short time.
Again, my reversion of your reversion of my removal was NOT deliberate, it was inadvertant, and your claiming it was deliberate is not assuming good faith. My last change, which you reverted again, restored all the material and added an additional cultural item. But you reverted it. That in itself may be a 3RR violation, you know.
Now though, I am here to discuss this change, so let's discuss it. The article still needs more work but till we gain consensus on how to proceed, I will confine my edits to other sections of it, or to other articles. The references in particular still need cleaning (when I arrived it had an unsourced tag, now it has many references but we are not done). So then... why should the change I suggest to this section not be made? I do appreciate your concern, and would appreciate any constructive advice on content that you can give. Epousesquecido 13:36, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
I plan to add additional cultural references to improve the neutrality of the article, which was my intent from the beginning. Sorry for the confusion. Epousesquecido 13:52, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

I have added additional cultural references to the article, but I question the importance of this one reference -- (1975 -- Peter Singer, a philosopher uses Truth's quotes in his book "Animal Liberation".)-- I wonder if this is relevant to the article. And should every book that has a Sojourner Truth quote be added to the list? Epousesquecido 05:06, 31 December 2006 (UTC)


I think this article needs a table of contents and I think the removal of it should be restored. I will not restore it while in an apparent edit war though. Epousesquecido 13:46, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

The table of contents has been restored Epousesquecido 05:10, 31 December 2006 (UTC)


I need heip. Black history month is domed and I am too!

I need more info about her.


Swartekill -- Place of birth[edit]

Swartekill is currently Wikilinked to a non-existing article "Hurley, Ulster County, New York". It seems there are two Hurleys in Ulster County, New York, because there is a disabiguation page. One Hurley is a town and the other is a hamlet.

But I don't think Swartekill is present-day Hurley at all. According to this site, "[Her parents'] owner, Johannes Hardenbergh had land in the Swartekill area, (now known as Rifton) in what was then the Town of Hurley." The Town of Hurley, according to its article, "was first settled around 1662 by directive of Peter Stuyvesant" and "[p]arts of Hurley have been used to form the Towns of New Paltz (1809), Esopus (1818), Olive (1823), Rosendale (1844), and Woodstock (1853)."

It sounds to me like Swartekill is present-day Rifton, and I'll change the Wikilink accordingly. — Malik Shabazz | Talk 22:52, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

I found another description here of Swartekill which helps confirm the location: "The Hardenbergh estate was in a hilly area called by the Dutch name Swartekill (now just north of Rifton), part of the Town of Hurley. It was within sight of the Catskill Mountains and near two small rivers, the Swartekill and the Wallkill River, which spilled into the larger Rondout Creek about six miles before it flowed into the Hudson River." - Epousesquecido (talk) 13:27, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Sounds interesting where is that from? Maybe wikipedia needs a stub article for the now nonexistent place, and the writer could cite that information? ++Lar: t/c 19:46, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Swartekill with double l cannot be a proper Dutch name, though "swart" means black. (talk) 15:08, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I know this is a day late and a Daryl short, but to explain the NYS use of the word "Town": it's the same as the word "Township" that's used in many other states. So, instead of "Hurley Township", New York uses the designation "Town of Hurley". Generally speaking, a NYS "Town" is more rural-ish in nature and a larger geographical unit than a hamlet (an unincorporated settlement), Village, or City. There are several Towns within a County.
Since New York was once Dutch, many of the place names in the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys reflect that. Kills are rivers: Wallkill, Fishkill, Shawangunkill. Please note that since kill = river, they are not the Fishkill River nor the Wallkill River, though one may refer to the Wallkill River Valley, a geographical feature that was carved by a river's course. Settlements frequently borrowed the names of rivers that ran through them. Fishkill is a river as well as a Village and a Town. The same with Wallkill. This is my first exposure to Swartekill, but I'll keep my eyes open for a reference to it in the future. I would guess that if "swart" means black as the above poster wrote, then the river is probably subject to a burden of fallen leaves and the tannins they bring. Just a guess, though. Wordreader (talk) 02:52, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Saints banner and category[edit]

Based on this individual being included in the Calendar of saints (Episcopal Church in the United States of America), I am adding the Category:Anglican saints and the Saints WikiProject banner to this article. I am awaiting reliable sources which can be used to add the content to the article. John Carter 19:27, 29 June 2007 (UTC)


I noticed a recent edit removed much of the current article, and replaced it with information copied and pasted directly from [1] without citations or anything else. I reverted the edit. Should I have did that? —Preceding unsigned comment added by ThreeDee912 (talkcontribs) 12:15, 15 August 2007

Yes, thank you for noticing the vandalism and for correcting it. (Please remember to sign your name) - Epousesquecido 20:17, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, thanks for the fixes. I signed your post for you, 3d, with the magic{{unsigned2}} template. ++Lar: t/c 03:52, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Kingdom of Mattias[edit]

I removed the unsourced sentence in the lead about her being a member of this cult. Some sources say she was only an employee, and in any case it's not significant enough for the lead, it's dealt with later in the article. - Epousesquecido 04:52, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Scope of Inclusion[edit]

I'm not going to change it myself, but I do question if the entire text of Truth's speech at Akron is entirely necessary to the article. Yes, it's important, but does it really belong in an encyclopedia article or a brief biography? I feel that linking it in one of the sections at the end would be sufficient. Twilytgardnfaery 14:25, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Frances Gage?[edit]

There's a redlink in the article to Frances Gage. I'm not sure who that is — is it an error for Matilda Joslyn Gage? She certainly moved in the same circles as Sojourner Truth. I don't know enough about Sojourner Truth to know for certain — if someone does know, please correct the link. Thanks. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 07:47, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Frances Gage is correct, just needed a redirect. - Epousesquecido 13:06, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Date of move to NYC[edit]

I'm new to posting here so please forgive me if this appears incorrect or crude. I'm not a Truth scholar, but I noticed that under the Freedom section the following appears: "In 1845 she moved with her son Peter to New York City, where she worked as a housekeeper for Elijah Pierson, a Christian Evangelist." I haven't the time at the moment to determine the correct date, but I think it must have been much earlier, since she started preaching and changed her name in 1843, which was after many years of working as a housekeeper in NYC. Perhaps someone knowledgeable would care to change this? MKGrant 22:57, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

You are correct, the date was wrong. Thank you for pointing it out. - Epousesquecido 02:53, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Well today in Social STudies i found that gage is the one who actually recorded that Solouner Truth wrote the speech. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:27, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Revert of speech related material[edit]

I've reverted this change: [2] as it is a major change in the article made without seeking prior consensus, and the material added is poorly formatted, self referential, and not written in the encyclopedic style. I'd suggest that this matter be discussed here if necessary before the change is added back. Controversy about the provenance of the speech can certainly be included in the article if properly sourced and organized, and the article already does mention that the commonly accepted text may not be the original. ++Lar: t/c 07:30, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Correction to "Ain't I a Woman" subheading requested.[edit]

"Both Carleton Mabee and Nell Painter have demonstrated that twelve years after the 1851 Akron, Ohio, Woman's Rights meeting, Frances Dana Gage, and not Sojourner Truth, wrote the famous "Ar'n't I a Woman?" speech. According to Painter, Gage, the white presiding officer at the meeting, deliberately set her sights on writing a more engaging account of Truth than Harriet Beecher Stowe, who in 1863 captured the nation's attention by romantically characterizing Truth as the "Libyan Sibyl." Gage, thinking herself a more talented writer than Stowe, sought to shape popular perceptions of Truth. She thus fictionalized the Akron convention, a convention electrified as much by Truth's presence as by her speech. Placing Truth at the center, Gage substantially embellished and dramatized her remarks. We know enough about Truth to celebrate her on her triumph over physical and sexual abuse, her religious commitment, and her fight for her children. Even so, it is Gage's invention that black and white Americans cling to. We have the history but much prefer the myth - the idea that a strong powerful black woman, in defiance of vehement opposition, and by sheer force of character, overcame illiteracy and mesmerized many a hostile audience with a wisdom that defied the logic of America's racists and sexists. According to Painter, in embracing Gage's account, we have shown how much more we need the symbolic Sojourner Truth - the strong black woman triumphing against the odds - than the real one, whose struggles were heroic but hardly mythic."

-- White, Deborah Gray. Ar'n't I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South. Revised Edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1985. Quote from pg. 11. Dr. White is professor of black history at Rutgers University.

Sojourner Truth did give a speech at the Akron convention but it was not the "Ain't I a Woman?" speech and it was far less dramatic than has been popularly recounted. News reporters at the time recorded the speech as she actually spoke it. When Gage sat down with Stanton and Anthony to write the history of the Suffrage movement,1 she rewrote Truth's speech in an effort to more obviously link the condition of slaves with the condition of women. Recently Dr. Nell Painter of Princeton University and Dr. Carleton Mabee of the State University of New York College independently refuted and reattributed the "Ain't I a Woman?" speech to Gage.

In the "Ain't I a Woman?" section, no record is made of the dispute surrounding this speech. I attempted to edit the Wikipedia page to show both the true speech and the fictionalized one, because I think both are important to the study of authentic US history, but the page was reverted. Because I am new to editing Wikipedia and do not necessarily understand the proper conventions, I respectfully ask a more Wiki-wise editor make the correction for me. The correct speech can be found behind the link posted above; alternately I can find it on microfilm, whichever works best.

1Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. I (1881; reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1969), pp. 114-17

Sandarmoir (talk) 05:37, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia already has an article devoted to the speech Ain't I a Woman?. It explains how the speech was a recorded recollection by Frances Gage. However, I do think that article is missing some important dates. - Epousesquecido (talk) 13:32, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
I did the revert, Sandarmoir as the material at that time was not in my view yet suitable for inclusion in this article. The material you've presented here now is, I think, closer to the format that material in articles sholud be in, with better cites, than what I reverted, and would certainly be something that should be considered for inclusion in the speech article, Ain't I a Woman?. If I may suggest, you may want to raise the issue on the talk page there. Thanks for taking another cut at this. (the speech itself, if not copyrighted, and I'd expect it is not, might well be a good thing to preserve at Wikisource) ++Lar: t/c 20:17, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks; the Talk Page on that speech does mention quite unequivocably that Wikipedia is using the wrong speech. However, the corrections have not been made to the actual article. I am not sure how to go about preserving anything at Wikisource; I'm not even really sure what that is. I'll look it up. Regardless, because this page quotes the speech something should be included in this page to indicate that the accuracy of the speech is under debate. Sandarmoir 19:14, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand your issue, in the Ain't I a Woman? article there are two versions of the speech, neither claim to be her exact words. Her exact speech was never written down at the time. The Frances Gage version is considered to be the most historically accurate. Have you found a better version? The link you give uses the Frances Gage speech as its version. - Epousesquecido 20:35, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Upon further reading, I saw the recorded version from the June 21, 1851, Anti-Slavery Bugle issue. I added it to the Ain't I a Woman? article. - Epousesquecido 21:28, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not using the wrong speech. As I stated on the Ain't I a Woman? talk page, Truth's speech was not written down or recorded at the time and all accounts are recollections written down by different people at different times with different agendas. The speech you refer to is not necessarily any more correct then the speech recorded by Gage. - Epousesquecido 02:51, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

The Valiant Soldiers[edit]

I removed this information from the article... "The song is virtually the same as Captain Lindley Miller's 1864 "Marching Song of the First Arkansas," and recent scholarship supports Miller as the original author of the song.[1]"

Many songs during that time had common melodies but had different lyrics, so one composer's work could be used by many lyricists. This was clearly the case with Truth's song The Valiant Soldiers. The article clearly states this. Epousesquecido (talk) 15:19, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

The point is that the lyrics of the two songs ("The Valiant Soldiers" and "Marching Song of the First Arkansas Colored Regiment") are the same (except for the first line of the first verse, and two additional verses in the "Marching Song"). And that the "Marching Song" appeared in print first, and there is no plausible way (certainly no documented way) the words of "The Valiant Soldiers" could have gotten from Truth to Lindley Miller; on the other hand there are two highly plausible paths for the "Marching Song" going from Miller to Truth (publication in the National Anti-Slavery Standard and the broadside distributed by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments). Take a look at the evidence. Dwalls (talk) 16:31, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
I do not think we should make this a huge issue in her article. Maybe we could add the words that "She claimed to have written the words but it has been disputed, see Marching Song of the First Arkansas.", or we should take the information about the song out of the article completely. I see that you use an article you apparently wrote (if you are David Walls) to source the information. Perhaps you could clarify things by providing the references you used to write the article in the AHQ, 2007. Epousesquecido (talk) 17:01, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree this shouldn't be a huge issue in this article; that's why I didn't reverse your edit. And I respect how you have cared for this article. Actually I started out thinking the original author must have been Truth. I was surprised I couldn't document this. It was Frances Titus, who put together the expanded edition of Truth's Narrative, who made the claim (in 1878, fourteen years after 1864), in good faith I'm sure, that Truth wrote the song. By that time Capt. Miller was dead fourteen years and in no position to push his claim, should he have cared to. I don't want to wander into the thicket of original research vs. secondary sources to document all this. If you want to add the sentence you suggest in the paragraph above, it's fine with me. Dwalls (talk) 17:55, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
I added the sentence and will also add it to the Wikisource info. Epousesquecido (talk) 20:58, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
  1. ^ David Walls, "Marching Song of the First Arkansas Colored Regiment: A Contested Attribution," The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Winter 2007, 401-421.

On a Mission section[edit]

The information in this section should be about HER missions in life while she was alive. In this diff I removed material which does not belong in the section. It belongs in the Cultural/modern references section. Please stop inserting this information, it is already in the article where it belongs. Thank you - Epousesquecido (talk) 15:00, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

My bad. I had noticed that the text had been removed, not that it had been relocated. Sorry about that. TechBear (talk) 15:10, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
No problem, thanks for letting me know. - Epousesquecido (talk) 21:52, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Important changes to the "Ain't I a Woman" speech[edit]

I have brought a somewhat recent scholarly position to the article by taking out the assumptions made by Frances Dana Barker Gage in her 1863 retelling of the 1851 "Ain't I a Woman?" speech by Truth. Instead, I have introduced a more contemporary view of the people who reported immediately following the 1851 convention, and my source is Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend. Go to page 67 and start reading what the Mabees are saying, and you'll see how well thought out their position is. The most radical thing the Mabees are saying is that the actual speech by Truth included not one instance of her asking "Ain't I a Woman?" Instead, it was Gage's own writing style talking. Truth never made such forceful, oratorical, poetic repetitions in her speeches, but Gage always worked them into her writing. Check it out! Binksternet (talk) 01:29, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Interesting way to advertise the Mabee's book, are you getting a commission? My point being, since you seem to suggest that Gage had an angle, maybe others are trying to sell a book. So as I said on your talk page, for now, I will give the book the benefit of the doubt. But tomorrow I will make a call to the Sojourner Truth Institute, they are the experts, and they have the most extensive archives of Sojourner Truth artifacts and records in the U. S. I have been in touch with them before and they are very concerned about Sojourner's article on Wikipedia and they have asked me to make changes in the past. I have also found the Sojourner Truth Library in New Paltz, New York to be very helpful. But that said, I appreciate your contributions and your interest in this great lady and I do think the article needed work. Thanks. - Josette (talk) 11:26, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm getting no kickback for looking up a book on Google books. If only! Binksternet (talk) 11:50, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Further up the page there's a 21 month old thread about the same subject, with some of the same researchers. Sandarmoir started the thread. Binksternet (talk) 11:53, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, Epousesquecido is me. Let me restate my point about the speech - Truth's speech was not written down or recorded at the time and all accounts are recollections written down by different people at different times with different agendas. Non are necessarily any more correct then the speech recorded by Gage. That point needs to be made clear. - Josette (talk) 12:04, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
The difference between Robinson and Gage is twelve years of forgetting. Binksternet (talk) 12:48, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
They both attended, Robinson reported the story for a newspaper one month later and we have no idea when Gage wrote down her recollection, only that is was put in print twelve years later. - Josette (talk) 12:58, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Gage wrote about the convention immediately following it. In 1863, she wrote about how Sojourner Truth came to the stage, and what the audience was like, and how Truth was received afterward. Gage's own 1851 writings conflict with her 1863 version. On page 69 of this book we find that Gage says Harriet Beecher Stowe's article about Truth in the Atlantic Monthly of 1863 ("The Libyan Sibyl") brought back a "faint sketch" of the scene of Truth's Akron speech "vividly to my mind," telling us Gage was recalling it from memory. If she was referring to notes, the notes would have been those of an inexperienced presiding officer of a convention, not the notes of a practiced secretary or reporter. The book's authors trust the professional reporter Robinson more than Gage. Binksternet (talk) 13:43, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
I am not trying to argue about this, you don't have to convince me. I understand all of this. The point is no one knows for sure, so we shouldn't write the article like we know for sure. I have read too much about this subject and these people to believe anyone has discovered the absolute truth. Let's move on. I think it was good that you removed the speech and most of the stuff about Gage. I think the article needed work but I don't think the Sojourner Truth article is the proper place for a critical analysis of Gage and the writing of the speech. - Josette (talk) 14:20, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Trying to decide whether Robinson or Gage is "correct" misses the point here, and in my view, you are both going about this wrong. Wikipedia is about verifiability, not truth. If there is disagreement about what the speech said, because different sources have different versions, report that. But do it in a way that presents all sides so the reader understands the controversy and can draw their own conclusions. The way the article reads now, it takes the correction of Gage as a given. That is just as wrong as a wording that takes what Gage says as a given. Probably the Truth article should only lightly touch this, and the Ain't article should go into this in far more depth. But the way the article is now is unbalanced, in that it just "corrects" Gage without alluding to the possibility that Gage was right. IMHO anyway. Sorry for butting in but I've been watching this all day trying to stay out of it. ++Lar: t/c 22:27, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

You're right; both versions should be shown neutrally. I'll rewrite the bit here, but I don't want to reduce it in size. Of course, a far more detailed analysis could be presented at the speech page. I would like to point out that before I got here, Gage's 1863 version of events was taken as fact, even when contradicted by herself and all the others who reported in 1851. I am satisfied in the correction of that glaring problem. Binksternet (talk) 23:04, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Lar, for making the point that I was trying to make more clear. Binksternet, your idea sounds good to me, and it would be great to have a new 'critical analysis' section at the article about the speech which could go into much more depth. We also need to remember that the speech by Gage has become famous in it's own right, but that is something for the speech article. - Josette (talk) 00:04, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
And it deserved to become famous! It was a fantastic construction, with ringing oratory, and it came at just the right time, when an ugly war was getting uglier. Binksternet (talk) 04:02, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Libyan Sibyl[edit]

Who first called Sojourner Truth a "Libyan Sibyl"? A statue by that name was completed in 1862, and Stowe's magazine article by that name came out in 1863. The Narrative book doesn't have the phrase, but the History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I does, misspelled as "Lybian Sybil" and "Lybian Sibyl"... Binksternet (talk) 00:06, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Harriet Beecher Stowe explains it in the article you refer to from 1863. (do a search for Libyan Sibyl in the article) [3] - Josette (talk) 00:34, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
So, she was never called this until the 1860s. Hmmm. In Stanton's History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I, it introduces Sojourner Truth for readers who might have heard of Truth only via Stowe, as "Mrs. Stowe's 'Lybian Sibyl' " and later, in the section entitled "Reminiscences by Frances D. Gage", compares Truth's reticent silence in Akron to the "Lybian Statue". Stanton's committee-written book says Truth was "well-known in anti-slavery circles, and called the 'Lybian Sybil' " relative to her appearance in Akron in 1851. I conclude that this history is imprecise in its expression of chronology. Binksternet (talk) 01:10, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I would agree. - Josette (talk) 01:54, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Prophet Matthias[edit]

After these sentences:

In 1832, she met Robert Matthews, also known as Matthias Kingdom or Prophet Matthias, and went to work for him as a housekeeper.[1] In a bizarre twist of fate, Elijah Pierson died, and Robert Matthews and Truth were accused of stealing from and poisoning him. Both were acquitted and Robert Matthews moved west.[2]

an IP editor added the following comment:

Note: The above statement is misleading. Truth became a disciple of Prophet Matthias, a cult leader who claimed he was the incarnation of the Holy Spirit, and lived in a commune with about 20 people in Sing Sing, New York called Mt. Zion. Matthias later went under trial for the death of Pierson, which he was acquitted of; though he was jailed for other crimes. After Matthias was released from jail, Truth--his most loyal disciple--heard new commandments from God. Years later she renamed herself to Sojourner Truth and cast the mold she is identified with today.
Please clean this up if you have the time, I am in a rush writing a report but felt it was necessary to make note of this inaccuracy. As a source: [Sean Wilentz, "A Nation of Cults: The Great American Tradition," Los Angeles Times, April 6, 1997]

Here is the article to which the IP refers. How much of this information about Matthews belongs in Sojourner Truth's article? — Malik Shabazz (talk · contribs) 07:20, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Sojourner TruthInstitute was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference WiH was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Problem edits[edit]

I removed these edits. They are speculation and frankly inappropriate. - Josette (talk) 18:33, 4 October 2009 (UTC)


Anonymous and not familiar with this protocol...but...had a pedantic moment reading it

Her occupation is listed as: Domestic servant, Abolitionist, Author

I see the word 'servant' in the article once. The word 'slave' comes up at least a dozen times. It's unclear to me: did she become a "maid" or "house staff" later in life after she was freed from slavery? Should it say 'housekeeper' instead of 'domestic servant' when that's what she became for Matthias?

It just seems misleading that occupation never notes the lack of free status. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:20, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Number of children in family[edit]

Let's address the issue of the number of children in Truth's family. New editors are continually changing 10 to 13. I propose we add a reference to support the number and an inline comment to help stabilize it. Jojalozzo 22:18, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Good idea. The section "Her brothers and sisters" early in the narrative says Isabella's mother had "ten or twelve" children. That "ten or twelve" figure is also used by the biographies of Truth by Carleton Mabee and Nell Irvin Painter, so I have referenced those to the "ten or twelve" number I've incorporated in the article. Dwalls (talk) 01:04, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
(correction to "ten or twelve"). Dwalls (talk) 01:17, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
If she had 10 or 12 siblings then she'd have been one of 11 or 13, right? If we want to keep the quotation "ten or twelve" then we'd have to reword it as a count of her brothers and sisters but not Truth herself. Jojalozzo 03:34, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
No. The text of the Narrative is clear that, speaking of Isabella's mother, "She was the mother of some ten or twelve children," including Isabella, who was next to the last child. Dwalls (talk) 13:49, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

File:Sojourner Truth detail (battlecreekcvb) 001.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

Image-x-generic.svg An image used in this article, File:Sojourner Truth detail (battlecreekcvb) 001.jpg, has been nominated for deletion at Wikimedia Commons in the following category: Deletion requests April 2012
What should I do?

Don't panic; a discussion will now take place over on Commons about whether to remove the file. This gives you an opportunity to contest the deletion, although please review Commons guidelines before doing so.

  • If the image is non-free then you may need to upload it to Wikipedia (Commons does not allow fair use)
  • If the image isn't freely licensed and there is no fair use rationale then it cannot be uploaded or used.

To take part in any discussion, or to review a more detailed deletion rationale please visit the relevant image page (File:Sojourner Truth detail (battlecreekcvb) 001.jpg)

This is Bot placed notification, another user has nominated/tagged the image --CommonsNotificationBot (talk) 02:54, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Robert's death of "the aforementioned injuries"[edit]

The reference cited for Robert's death having been caused by "the aforementioned injuries" states merely that Robert did not live many years after he was beaten, and does not describe a cause of death. Therefore the clause stating that this was the cause of Robert's death should be removed, unless another source provides this detail, in which case the footnote should be changed to a reference that supports the statement. Thank you. (talk) 09:31, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I see what you're saying; his death wasn't a direct and immediate result of the injuries, but Washington has it that they "shortened his life" (52). I altered this slightly to say that he later died of the injuries, which seems fair.Ath271 (talk) 17:19, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

On a mission-date error[edit]

"1943 was a turning point for Truth. She changed her religion and adopted her chosen name. She became a Millerite Adventist in 1843..."

Do you mean "1843 was a turning point..."? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:53, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Fixed. Thank you for pointing it out. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 01:53, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Ya, dumb typo. Not used to writing about the 1800s. Thanks for fixing. The On a Mission section is kind of strange because it sits outside the rest of the bio. Legacypac (talk) 09:50, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Way too many external links[edit]

I moved a great number of ELs here. Some of these could be used as citations but otherwise do not belong in the article. If it's important for readers to have access to all these links please add just one link to someone else's list of links instead of creating our own. There are a lot of excellent reasons why we're not a directory.

Jojalozzo 16:00, 11 March 2014 (UTC)


Whats her real name? Only say Sojourner Truth — Preceding unsigned comment added by Link02 (talkcontribs) 00:14, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

The lead notes that she was called Isabella Baumfree when born. I just added that her nickname was Bell and that Bomefree was an alternate spelling of her birth name.Ath271 (talk) 17:35, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

A few updates[edit]

I just replaced a dead link (to the Sojourner Truth institute) with a citation from Margaret Washington's 2009 book, then clarified a few sentences in the "early life" section, again by referencing Washington's book:

  • Clarified that it was the second wife, Elizabeth Dumont, who made Truth's life difficult and noted that the first wife, Sally, died before Truth joined the household
  • Changed "Catlin" to "Catton" (owner of Robert). Painter has it "Catlin," but Washington references documents that show his name was actually "Catton." Should we cite both, though, ie "Catlin or Catton"?
  • Changed passive to active voice and clarified agency (Catton and his son beat Robert)
  • Unclear that Dumont forced Truth and Thomas to marry; Washington has a family statement recalling it as a mutually agreed upon union; so changed it to the more neutral "Truth eventually married" Thomas. I replaced the Painter reference here with the Washington one; but should they both be in?
  • Clarified names and paternity of children per Washington.

In general, I note prior to these changes the article didn't cite Washington's biography (though it did list it as further reading, a reference I think I added three or four years ago). So maybe I'll go through over the coming weeks and see if there are significant areas her findings might clarify or add to what's already here.Ath271 (talk) 17:10, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Party Affiliation?[edit]

Because Harriet Tubman's name was removed from the List of African-American Republicans today, I've started this thread to enlist knowledgeable folks to discuss this issue of Tubman and Truth, perhaps become more important because of the US currency announcement today. Anyone care to discuss? BusterD (talk) 02:21, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Sojourner Truth. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

As of February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{sourcecheck}} (last update: 15 July 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 08:34, 2 December 2017 (UTC)

Name pronunciation[edit]

The transcription, given in the article now, is /soʊˈdʒɜːrnər ˈtruːθ/. At the same time, Wiktionary page for sojourn gives /ˈsəʊdʒɜːn/. There is a big difference if the /r/ is or isn't there, when translating the page to other languages and transcribing the name. Can anyone add a source for the name pronunciation? Thanks. --Ата (talk) 07:52, 26 September 2018 (UTC)


In the Infobox it claims her father was "James Baumfree 1". Why the distinction of the "1"? To distinguish her father from her son of the same name? Or is it merely a typo? Captain Eek Edits Ho Cap'n! 08:28, 1 February 2019 (UTC)

Picture Description[edit]

In the Freedom section, the picture of the shackles/handcuffs has a description that is not in English. SquashEngineer (talk) 13:37, 1 February 2019 (UTC)

Battle Creek[edit]

In the section "on a mission," it's said that Truth moved to Battle Creek in 1857, and also in 1867. I don't have a source handy, but I do recall she only moved there once.--~TPW 22:30, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

You do? You're 175 years old? Wow, we should have an article on you! John from Idegon (talk) 23:05, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Conversion to Christianity[edit]

"Truth had a life-changing religious experience during her stay with the Van Wagenens, and became a devout Christian"

Is there a source for this? From what she writes about God in "The Narrative of Sojourner Truth," it seems like she was a pretty devout Christian before she met the Van Wagenens. I know she converted to Methodism later, but (unless there's more context I'm missing) I'm not entirely sure if it's accurate to say she wasn't a devout Christian before she met the Van Wagenens. Sjbennington (talk) 17:11, 14 November 2019 (UTC)