Friday, November 26, 2010

Sojourner Truth: As Strong As Any Man That Is Now

Whenever I find myself dealing with job dissatisfaction*, I find it helps to consider the plight of slaves... So while its true that slavery to my lifestyle** keeps me coming back for more like the masochist I am, at least I'm able to take my job and shove it without my job shoving back.

PhotobucketBorn a slave in Upstate New York in 1797 with the name Isabella Baumfree, the life of the woman who came to be known as Sojourner Truth ran the usual gamut that attends the life of a slave; when she was bought and sold, repeatedly raped and beaten, denied the man she loved, and had her children taken from her and sold, it was all just another day at work for her.

New York State began the process of emancipation in 1799, a process that would not be complete until 1827; promised her freedom in 1826 by her Master, John Dumont, he reneged on the deal, at which time she escaped. She was taken in by a Quaker couple, Isaac and Maria Van Wagenen, who bought her services and allowed her to live with them until such time as she could go free. While living with them she underwent a religious conversion which would shape the rest of her life.

In 1851 Sojourner Truth made her famous oration at a convention of the Ohio Women's Rights Convention; entitled Ain't I a Woman?, it excoriated the phony chivalry of southern men, whose concern for women was entirely for pretty, young white women. She is also credited with writing the song, The Valiant Soldiers, popular during the Civil War.

Sojourner Truth died on this day in 1883, surrounded by some of the family she was able to reclaim, her words and the works she'd seen to in the last half of her life having assured that the plight of all those in search of equal rights stood a better chance at improvement when those seeking them stood together, rather than apart...

*Just about every waking minute of every day I'm not writing.
**A tiny apartment, a lousy diet, and more books that Carrie Bradshaw has shoes...

share on: facebook

No comments: