From a lecture. Born into slavery in rural New York around 1797 as Isabella, Truth was freed by a state law that took effect in 1827. On June 1, 1843, she took the name Sojourner Truth and began traveling as a preacher, promoting abolition and women’s rights. She published her autobiography in 1850. According to a Providence newspaper, Truth’s dress while giving this lecture included “a very plain, Quaker-like garb,” “a snowy white neckerchief” and a “white turban on her head.” Truth died in 1883 in Battle Creek, Michigan.
I’m awful hard on dress, you know.
Women, you forget that you are the mothers of creation; you forget your sons were cut off like grass by the war, and the land was covered with their blood; you rig yourselves up in panniers and Grecian-bend backs and flummeries; yes, and mothers and gray-haired grandmothers wear high-heeled shoes and humps on their heads, and put them on their babies, and stuff them out so that they keel over when the wind blows. O mothers, I’m ashamed of ye! What will such lives as you live do for humanity? When I saw them women on the stage at the Woman’s Suffrage Convention the other day I thought, What kind of reformers be you, with goose wings on your heads, as if you were going to fly, and dressed in such ridiculous fashion, talking about reform and women’s rights? ’Pears to me you had better reform yourselves first. But Sojourner is an old body, and will soon get out of this world into another, and wants to say when she gets there, Lord, I have done my duty, I have told the whole truth and kept nothing back.