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In an ever changing world , the evolution of man has been the
most drastic in terms of technological, environmental, and
emotional advancement. With great expansions in the various
areas mentioned earlier the human being has ignored the very
entity of there existence, and the power of reasoning, the
ability to comprehend right from wrong without distortion. The
Narrative of Sojourner Truth illustrates the hardships that were
endured: enslavement, illiteracy, underclassing, brutal
assaults, and murders. The African -American women were
classed as third rate in the human scale that was implemented by
the slaveowners; categorized under the whites, then under the
African-American males. The African-American women were kept in
good standing for the convenience of child bearing.
Overburdened with the trials and tribulations of slavery
Sojourner Truth was able to prosper with spiritual beliefs.
Sojourner Truth’s stability was made possible by a strong
belief in the Holy Spirit. God was the major source of guidance,
and willpower from the commencement of the slave trade until the
emancipation of slavery. Slavery was orchestrated on a mass
scale and caused the separation of many families in order to
ensure that slaves would remain with there respective masters.
Subservience to the slaveowners was considered to be sacred.
Slaves were mentally programmed to believe there masters were
gods. The wives of the slaveowners were seen as goddess’s ,with
there prime intent on down playing the daily work done by the
African-American women. This was evident with Sojourner’s first
slave mistress, the continuos work routine that was endure by
Sojourner, was difficult for males to accomplished. the slaves
loyal to there masters. Ignorance of the slaves was a pivotal
point in terms of loyalty. Considering slave knowledge was
limited, in terms of the genetic appearance, beliefs, and
language; slaveowners could use this in a condescending manner
to position themselves as gods in the eyes of Sojourner and
At this time she looked upon her master as a God; and believed
that he could see her at all times, even as God himself. 1
Female African-American’s were kept from experiencing
any form of higher learning, they were confined to common
household chores- duties that were befitting of a maid. The
majority were sent to perform field duties. The Narrative
clearly shows that Sojourner (a.k.a.) Isabella was subjected to
this type of work throughout her adult life ,mean while her life
began to take shape despite the continuos curtailing of her
emotional growth. This is directly related to her mother’s
early testimony about the highest spirits and the magnitude of
his power in relations to suffering and distressing situations.
” My children there is a God, who hears and sees
you”, A God, mau-mau! where does he live? asked the children.
“He lives in the sky,” she replied, “and when you are beaten ,or
cruelly treated, or fall into any trouble, you must ask help of
him, and he will always hear and help you.” She taught them to
keel and say the Lord’s prayer. 2
Underclassing exploited the African American women
for the most part Sojourner was rated second class by the wife
of her slavemaster, the master was very appreciative of the
slave that would work for days upon days without sleep. Unlike
any other slave Sojourner would work whole heartedly without any
form of hesitation. In terms of views of various work loads, and
different job types, a local. Although Sojourner was highly
noted as a slave she was always sited as something that was
irrespectfull of a human.
It was a fine triumph for Sojourner and her master, and
she became more ambitious than ever to please him; and he
stimulated her ambition by his commendation, and by boasting of
her to his friends, telling them that “that wench ” (pointing to
Isabel) is better to me than a man- for she will do a good
family’s washing in the night, and be ready in the morning to go
into the field, where she will do as much at raking and binding
as my best hands”. 3
Sojourner’s work ethics were adopted without the incentive
of monetary gain or ownership of land.
Payment was the continuance of life, chances to have children
and see them grow as Sojourner did in her case. The
underclassing of the African-American women in this Narrative
represents the disruption in the natural reoccurring process of
the family unit staying together as one.
African-American women were viewed as no comparison to white
women, major problems arose when the women would try to
rationalize there feelings about the ill treatment of there
children, also the selling of there children. The inquiries were
taken as an insult by the slavemasters wives. Sojourner’s
slaveowners trained her to have her main concerns directed to
there children. The results of Sojourner’s hard work resulted in
harder work being delegated, without any consideration being
taken that she was a human being. Sojourner was scorned by
fellow slaves for her work habits in such barbaric circumstances.
These extra exertions to please, and the
praises consequent upon them, brought upon her head envy of her
fellow slaves, and they taunted her with being the white folks
As Sojourner grew older, men took interest in her
despite scorning from the other slaves. Robert a slave from
another family fell in love with her. Forbidden to see
Sojourner he followed his heart instead of his masters orders.
Sojourner’s illness caused Robert to visit her during the day,
which was easily detected by his master, caused a brutal beating
and humiliating display to Robert similar to that of a escaped
animal. Robert was order to seek love from a slave within his
own family, fearful of another life threatening assault by his
master, Robert obeyed an forgot about his true love.
Although the union was not made, Sojourner got married,
bearing five children for her husband.
Sojourner loss one of her children under false pretences, which
was a regular practice in the slavery period. Sojourner is led
to believe her son is at another family which is close to her.
Sojourner escapes from her masters home, taking refuge close
by. After being lied too by her master; that she would be freed
in the year of 1826. Sojourner leaves in the year of 1827.
Sojourner is bought by Mr. Issac’s S.Van Wagener who gives her
refuge, she is bought as an individual, not as a slave and is
granted freedom. While residing with Mr. Wagener, Sojourner
seeks legal course to reclaim her son. After continuously
struggling with the legal system Sojourner is successful in her
endeavour. The treatment of her son is discovered once he is
returned to her, Sojourner learns of multiple beatings to both
her son and the brutal murder of her pregnant daughters unborn
child. Then of the murder of her daughter.
Heavens and earth, Isabella ! Fowler’s murdered Cousin
Eliza ! “Ho,” said Isabella, “that’s nothing- he liked to kill
my child; nothing save him but God. 5
Sojourner makes direct reference to God, that God can
save anyone if belief is entrusted in God.
But, ere she reached the vehicle, she says
that God revealed himself to her, with all the suddenness of a
flash of lighting, showing her, “in the twinkling of an eye,
that he was all over”- that he pervaded the universe- “and that
there was no place where God was not. “She became instantly
conscious of her great sin in forgetting her almighty friend
and “ever-present help in time of trouble.” All her unfilled
promises arose before her. Realization that God was everywhere
and everything around her, with the faith entrusted in him was a
Her language is, “let others say what they will of the
efficacy of prayer, I believe in it, and I shall pray Thank
God! Yes, I shall always pray,” 6
Sojourner started to embrace her spiritual calling, after
securing a safe home for her son Sojourner leaves for New York.
Sojourner meets Matthias and is taken by his self-proclaimation
type religion. Sojourner preaches with Matthias for a short
while: certain aspect of his theories are contorted to benefit
himself, as well as the rest of the male population. Sojourner
showed her determination as exemplified earlier in the Narrative
by fighting for what was right.
You need not be afraid to give us our rights for
fear we’ll take too much… if woman upset the world, do give
her a chance to set it right side up again. 7
Sojourner Truth Was born into slavery in 1797
under the name “Isabella Braumfree”, after strong spiritual
convictions she change her name to the above mentioned. With a
deep rooted motivation as did Sojourner, accompanied by a strong
belief in God: enslavement would turn into freedom, illiteracy
would turn into knowledge, underclassing would be reversed into
being a national black leader, brutal murders would become the
backbone of your strongest arguments as an abolitionist. In the
fight for emancipation. Sojourner’s spirituality was the guiding
factor in her life an caused her to be one of the most outspoken
women in the history of the United States of America.