I read Narrative of Sojourner Truth the other day. The following are a few selections that made impressions on me as I was reading. She was an incredible woman!
Perhaps her most well known quote:
Nobody eber help me into carriages, or ober mud puddles, or gives me any best place and are’n’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have plowed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me — and ar’n’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man (when I could get it), and bear de lash as well — and ar’n’t I a woman?
I found these comments on Bible reading, since Sojourner could not read for herself, interesting:
I had forgotten to mention, in its proper place, a very important fact, that when she was examining the Scriptures, she wished to hear them without comment, but if she employed adult persons to read them to her, and she asked them to read a passage over again, they invariably commenced to explain, by giving her their version of it; and in this way, they tried her feelings exceedingly. In consequence of this, she ceased to ask adult persons to read the Bible to her, and substituted children in their stead. Children, as soon as they could read distinctly, would read the same sentence to her, as often as she wished, and without comment; and in that way she was enabled to see what her own mind could make out of the record, and that, she said, was what she wanted, and not what others thought it to mean. She wished to compare the teaching of the Bible with the witness within her; and she came to the conclusion, that the spirit of truth spoke in those records, but that the recorders of those truths had intermingled with them ideas and suppositions of their own. This is one among the many proofs of her energy and independence of character.
A picture of her strength and character:
Under the impulse of this sudden emotions, she fled to the most retired corner of a tent, and secreted herself behind a trunk, saying to herself, ‘I am the only colored person here, and on me, probably, their wicked mischief will fall first, and perhaps fatally.’ But feeling how great was her insecurity even there, as the very tent began to shake from its foundations, she began to soliloquize as follows: —
‘Shall I run away and hide from the Devil? Me, a servant of the living God? Have I not faith enough to go out and quell that mob, when I now it is written — “one shall chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight”? I know there are not a thousand here; and I know I am a servant of the living God. I’ll go to the rescue, and the Lord shall go with and protect me.
“Oh,’ said she, “I felt as if I had three hearts! and that they were so large, my body could hardly hold them!
She now came forth from her hiding-place, and invited several to go with her and see what they could do to still the raging of the moral elements. They declined, and considered her wild to think of it.
Needless to say, she did it. And she did so with a song and a sermon.
A final summation of Sojourner Truth:
Through all the scenes of her eventful life may be traced the energy of a naturally powerful mind — the fearlessness and child-like simplicity of one untrammeled by education or conventional customs — purity of character — an unflinching adherence to principle — and a native enthusiasm, which, under different circumstances, might easily have produced another Joan of Arc.
With all her fervor, and enthusiasm, and speculation, her religion is not tinctured in the least with gloom. No doubt, no hesitation, no despondency, spreads a cloud over her soul; but all is bright, clear, positive, and at times ecstatic. Her trust is in God, and from him she looks for good, and not evil. She feels that ‘perfect love casteth out fear.’