Born Isabella Baumfree, the slave from a small town north of New York City changed hands several times, sold by one brutal owner to another just as harsh. Her life included repeated beatings, rapes and a forced marriage. In 1826, having been promised freedom, but then cruelly denied emancipation, she left her current owners and found her way to the Van Wageners’ home. There she had an epiphany, became a devout Christian, and renamed herself Sojourner Truth, after which she began her travels as a preacher. In 1850, Sojourner began speaking on women’s suffrage, believing the causes of abolition and women’s rights to be intertwined and equally important. Ms. Truth’s most quoted speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” was delivered at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. Although there has been much dispute about the words she spoke and the rhythm of her speech, there is no debate about the power and integrity of the speaker or about the impact of the speech and the speaker’s life. Truth also helped recruit black troops during the Civil War for the Union Army, and she worked as a Union nurse.
Dr. Daisy Century and Ms. Sojourner Truth are both powerful singers and very intelligent women, whether self-taught or academically trained. Almost as impressively tall as the woman she portrays, Century gives a commanding performance of Ms. Truth, bringing to life a woman undeterred by incredible obstacles, a woman who mixed with the leading figures of her day, including Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. Audience members are urged to consider the twin goals of racial and gender parity of equal importance. We are inspired by Ms. Truth’s fiery wit, as exemplified by her rejoinder to a comment that since she smoked a pipe (at one time), her conduct did not reflect cleanliness being next to godliness. Said Sojourner, “When I die, I expect to leave my breath behind.” The audience has the opportunity to sign Sojourner Truth’s Book of Life, signifying their connection to Ms. Truth’s legacy.
“Your passion and dedication brought Sojourner to life. The audience enjoyed your performance very much and they made sure to tell us what a wonderful program it was.”N.D., Ocean County Library, Point Pleasant Branch
“Yours was a brilliant depiction of the life of those living in slavery. You made it so real to us. I want to pass along to you…some of the words of praise…extraordinary, flawless, a born actress, so very lovely, a riveting performance.” -- C.B., Heath Village Women’s Association