Sojourner Truth

American abolitionist and women's rights activist. Born into slavery as Isabella Baumfree in Swartekill, New York, Truth she escaped to freedom with her infant daughter in 1826, just a year before slavery was abolished in New York State, and then won a court battle to free one of her sons—the first such legal victory of a black woman over a white man. In 1843, declaring that "the Spirit calls me, and I must go," she adopted the name Sojourner Truth and became an itinerant preacher, condemning the institution of slavery. The famed abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison encouraged her to dictate her memoirs, which he then published as The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave in 1850. A year later, while attending the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, she extemporaneously delivered the speech that became known as "Ain't I a Woman?" See also sojournertruth.org.