Sojourner Truth – My Heroine and My Voice
Today, I am doing a little self-examination. I am not the same as I was yesterday nor as I was in 2017 when I initially took the journey to find my voice. I am certainly not the same as I was when I ran into Sojourner Truth and decided to make her both “My Heroine and My Voice.”
My journey with Sojourner Truth was by no means easy or comfortable. I often wonder how she would speak out today about the unprecedented times we are currently experiencing.
Before I move on, I want to share her with you as she shared her story with me and for me.
A conversation with Sojourner Truth
“My name is Sojourner Truth.” She motioned to me and said, “Baby, I know what you’re looking for and I want to give you what I have. The strength in my voice comes from my experiences as a black woman. My courage comes from walking into the unknown events of my life. My wisdom from the willingness to seek God in everything.”
She leaned forward with a low voice. I was listening to the most profound secrets of her heart. And you know what, I could hear her say,” Darlene, listen to me with your heart because your journey is not for the faint of heart.”
“I was born a slave in New York State; you know that it is in the North! I gave birth to four babies, and three of my babies were sold away as slaves.”
“In 1826 I escaped slavery with my baby daughter. Yes, those were scary times for me. Nevertheless, I wanted more. I fought alongside white women at the forefront of abolitionism and racism. I became recognized as part of a community of reformers, at least, that is what they tell me. I worked with women like Amy Post, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, just to name a few. We became friends and collaborated until the end of my life.”
“Honey, though, my life was hard and sometimes seemed unbearable, I never forgot about God and His truth.” I can hear her saying now, “You know, they tell me I was a powerful, impassioned speaker. That I left a legacy of feminine and racial equality that still lives and resonates in the heart of people today. Do you think so”? In my heart, I said, yes!
In my heart, she went on to say, “Baby, I fought for what I believed in. You know I successfully won the custody of my son and became the first black woman to win a case against a white male.”
“You know, I sued a New York writer for slander and won, too”!
Her voice became even clearer as I heard her say, “They tell me I am remembered most of all for a speech I gave at the women’s convention in Ohio in 1851. They say, “Sojourner Truth is best remembered for her stirring ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ speech. “Now, Ain’t that something, Darlene”? Oh, yes, Sojourner! Yes!
“Honey, one time a pro-slavery doctor claimed that I really was not a woman. He further demanded that I privately show my breasts to a group of women. You know I did. I unbuttoned my blouse and showed my breast to the whole room and said, “It is not my shame but yours that I do this.” WOW! It seems to me like it took nothing for her to meet this challenge of ignorance from this professional man. But I see her confident stature standing and silently saying, “I dare you.”
I felt led to write this article about Sojourner Truth in the first person, I wondered, “Could I be as strong and as confident as she was? Can I find that strength in me?
Sojourner is an example of strength in the midst of overcoming great pain. She was a woman who cared deeply about the fight that God chose for her. He allowed her to experience the pain that comes with loss, the pain that comes with rejection, the pain that comes with love, and the pain that comes with injustice. God allowed the pain before He brought her to the forefront of the FIGHT. But through all the pain, Sojourner Truth remained humbled and never lost sight of her task, and she kept her voice to the very end of her life.
God used Sojourner Truth to take me deeper into what He wants me to see, to understand, and to embrace the voice I will need to do what He has called me to do. I see her motioning me as she did from the start, inviting me not only to listen to her voice but also to use a voice like hers.
Sojourner mentored me though I never met her. I want to ask you the following truths:
Do you have a “Sojourner Truth” in your life?
Do you know your calling? Is God wanting to take you deeper into the calling He designed for you?
Do you have a network of supportive people who wants to see you succeed in life and in your calling?
Please surround yourself with people who are encouraging, inspiring, and most of all loving and truthful.
In His presence
Darlene J. Harris
A Sojourner Truth- is the first sculpture to honor an African American woman in the US Capitol and was donated by the National Congress of Black Women. Learn more about the unveiling.
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