Sojourner Truth left indelible mark on Hudson Valley and the nation

Anne Gordon, the former Ulster County historian, studied Sojourner Truth's life for years, calling her “a pioneer.”

News 12 Staff

Jul 30, 2020, 10:12 PM

Updated 1,392 days ago

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As the U.S. marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage this year, News 12 is highlighting the life of Sojourner Truth – a staunch abolitionist and fierce fighter for women’s rights with ties in the Hudson Valley.
She was born into slavery in 1797 and given the name “Isabella” in Rifton, New York in Ulster County.
Anne Gordon, the former Ulster County historian, studied Sojourner Truth's life for years, calling her “a pioneer.”
"Just because she was a slave in the north didn't mean it was any better than slavery in the south," she said. "They were beaten, they were never educated."
Signs of the beating Isabella took as a slave can be seen on the back of a statue at the Sojourner Truth Memorial in Esopus. It depicts her as a child growing up in the area.
On an early October morning in 1826, Isabella escaped, and went on an 11.5-mile journey with her infant daughter into the mountains of Rifton and to the home of Isaac Van Wagenen.
Isabella left Ulster County years later, eventually changing her name to Sojourner Truth.
In 1851, she gave her now famous. "Ain’t I a woman?" speech at a women's lecture conference in Akron, Ohio.


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