Narrative of Sojourner Truth; A Bondswoman of Olden Time, Emancipated by the New York Legislature in the Early Part of the Present Century; with a History of Her Labors and Correspondence Drawn from Her “Book of Life.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe famously called Truth “the Libyan Sibyl”
Sojourner Truth (1799–1883) is considered by many to be one of the most important African-American women of 19th-century American history. Dr. Charles Blockson described Sojourner Truth as “A legend in her own time, Truth’s indomitable will has won her a permanent place in American History. Her evangelic fervor and plain wit helped to advance the causes of emancipation and women’s rights.”
First published in 1850, this revised 1875 edition of the Narrative, which retains the Preface by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. This new edition contains significant changes: “[f]or example in 1875, in addition to edits to the text itself, Truth decided to expand her biography and had Frances W. Titus edit a selection from her scrapbook, titling it, ‘Book of Life,’ replacing the original appendix by Theodore D. Weld, ‘Slavery A System of Inherent Cruelty.’”¹
Sojourner Truth self-emancipated herself in 1827 or, as she stated: “I did not run off, for I thought that wicked, but I walked off, believing that to be all right.” Less than 20 years later, she gave herself the name “Sojourner Truth” — “Sojourner” as she planned to travel and preach wherever she could and show people their sins; “Truth” for God. Harriet Beecher Stowe famously called her “the Libyan Sibyl,” an epithet repeated here as a caption to the frontispiece portrait of Truth.
The arguable high spot of Truth’s life—testifying as a self-freed black woman who sought to empower women with basic rights and dignity—may be considered at the Woman’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio in the year 1854. There, Truth electrified audiences in a speech with the now-legendary refrain “Ar’n’t I a Woman?,” a speech printed here in her Narrative for the first time in full as reported by Frances Dana Gage on pp133–135. In part:
Dat man ober dar say dat women needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the de place every whar. Nobody eber help me into carriages, or ober mud puddles, or gives me any best place (and raising herself to her full height and her voice to a pitch like rolling thunder, she asked), and ar’n't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! (And she bared her right arm to the shoulder, showing her tremendous muscular power.) ... I have borne thirteen chilern and seen ‘em mos’ all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with a mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard—and ar’n't I a woman?”
A solid copy of an important autobiographical slave narrative.
Description: Narrative of Sojourner Truth; A Bondswoman of Olden Time, Emancipated by the New York Legislature in the Early Part of the Present Century; with a History of Her Labors and Correspondence Drawn from Her “Book of Life.”
Boston: Published for the Author, 1875. Frontispiece, xi, [1 (blank)], 13–320pp, issued without errata slip. 8vo. original publisher’s pictorial brown cloth with gilt spine title and gilt portrait on upper cover (in blind on back cover). Frontispiece with tissue guard. Some wear to head and tail of spine and at extremities; small, unobtrusive stains on spine and upper cover; Copyright and Preface with light foxing and old stains; overall, good to very good with solid joints and hinges.
Blockson 101 (first ed). Howes G-163. Work p311. Note. 1. Sojourner Truth’s Narrative - The Devil’s Tale [Duke University Libraries] accessed online.
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