EL Civics for ESL Students

Sojourner Truth Lesson

U.S. History, Civics, and Government
Sojourner Truth, 1797-1883

Am I Not a Woman and a Sister


1. Sojourner Truth was six feet tall.

2. During a speech in 1858, when someone accused her of being a man, she opened her blouse to prove she wasn't one.

3. Truth met with Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

4. The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in her honor in 1986.

5. NASA named a robotic rover after her.

  • Sojourner Truth was a famous African American slave, abolitionist, and women's rights activist.
  • She was named Isabella Baumfree, but she changed her name to Sojourner Truth in 1843 when she was about 46 years old.
  • Truth was born into slavery in New York around 1797.
  • Her parents, her twelve siblings, and her five children were also born slaves.
  • Truth was bought and sold four times during her life. She was beaten and raped when she was a young slave.
  • In 1826 she escaped from her master with her infant daughter. She left her other four children behind.
  • A Quaker family helped her. They let her and her daughter live with them.
  • Truth gained her freedom when the New York State Emancipation Act was passed in 1827.
  • She became a Christian and traveled around the country to help with abolitionist causes and to promote women's rights.
  • Truth delivered a famous speech called "Ain't I a Woman" at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1851.
  • She spoke to many audiences about slavery, prison reform, capital punishment, and women's rights.
  • Truth did more than just speak; she also recruited African American soldiers for the Union Army during the Civil War, tried to get land grants for former slaves, and tried to vote in a presidential election.
  • Sojourner Truth died on November 26, 1883, in Battle Creek, Michigan.
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