Friday, February 1, 2008

Sojourner Moments

Experience some intense moments with Barrymore nominated Zuhairah as she portrays Sojourner Truth in Richard LaMonte Pierce's stage play, "Sojourner".
from mastergriot user on youtube

This pictorial will touch your soul. Just imagine when you experience it live on stage! GTV student producer Sequoya brings Sojourner Truth alive. The "Ain't I A Woman" speech is as poignant today as it was back in 1851.

Sojourner biography from wikipedia. Part 1
"Sojourner Truth (c. 1797–November 26, 1883) was the self-given name, from 1843, of Isabella Baumfree, an American abolitionist. Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, New York. Her most famous speech, which became known as Ain't I a Woman?, was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.Isabella Baumfree was born around the year 1797. She was born into slavery on the Hardenbergh estate in Swartekill, New York[2]. Her parents were James and Betsy Baumfree, slaves of Colonel Hardenbergh. She was one of thirteen children. She spoke only Dutch until she was sold.] Ownership of the family slaves passed to the Colonel's son, Charles Hardenbergh, at the death of the colonel. In 1806 Isabella was sold to John Neely, along with a herd of sheep, near Kingston, New York for $100. Then she was sold in 1808, for $105, to Martinus Schryver of Kingston, New York, where she stayed for 18 months. She was sold again in 1810, for $175, to John Dumont of New Paltz, New York]. Isabella suffered many hardships at the hands of Mrs. Dumont, whom Isabella later described as cruel and harsh. Around 1815, Isabella met and fell in love with a slave named Robert from a neighboring farm, Robert's owner forbade the relationship because he did not want his slave having children with a slave he did not own (and therefore would not own the new 'property'). Robert was savagely beaten and never returned. Soon after that, Isabella had a daughter, named Diana (1815)[4]. In 1817, Isabella was forced, by her owner Dumont, to marry an older slave named Thomas. They had four children, Peter (1822), James (1823), Elizabeth (1825), and Sophia (1826) The state of New York began, in 1799, to legislate the abolition of slavery, which was to take place July 4, 1827. Dumont had promised Isabella freedom a year before the state emancipation, "if she would do well and be faithful." However, he changed his mind, claiming a hand injury had made her less productive. She was infuriated. She continued working until she felt she had done enough to satisfy her sense of obligation to him. Late in 1826, Isabella escaped to freedom with her infant daughter, Sophia. She had to leave her other children behind because they were not legally freed in the emancipation order until they had served as bound servants into their twenties.
"I did not run off, for I thought that wicked, but I walked off, believing that to be all right." She found her way to the home of Isaac and Maria Van Wagener, a Quaker family, who took her and her baby in. Isaac offered to buy her services for the remainder of the year (until the state's emancipation took effect), which her owner, Dumont, accepted for $20[3]. She resided there until the New York State Emancipation Act was approved a year later.Isabella learned that her son Peter, now 5 years old, had been sold illegally by Dumont to an owner in Alabama. With the help of Quaker activists, she took the issue to court, after months of legal proceedings, she got her son back. Isabella had a life-changing religious experience during her stay with the Van Wageners, and became a devout Christian. In 1829 she moved with her son Peter to New York City, where she worked for Elijah Pierson, a Christian Evangelist, as a housekeeper. In 1834 she met Robert Matthews, also know as Matthias Kingdom, or as Prophet Matthias, and went to work for him as a housekeeper. In a bizarre twist of fate, Elijah Pierson died, and Robert Matthews and Isabella were accused of stealing and poisoning Pierson. Both were acquitted and Robert Matthews moved to the west
In 1839, Isabella's son, Peter, took a job on a whaling ship called the Zone of Nanucket. From 1840 to 1841, she received five letters from him. When the ship returned to port in 1842, Peter was not on board and Isabella never heard from him again. On June 1, 1843, Isabella changed her name to Sojourner Truth and told friends, "The Spirit calls me, and I must go." She left to make her way traveling and preaching about abolition. In 1844, she joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry in Massachusetts. Founded by abolitionists, they supported women's right, religious tolerance, and they were pacifists. There were 210 members and they lived on 500 acres, raising livestock, running a sawmill, a gristmill, and a silk factory. While there, Sojourner Truth met William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglas, and David Ruggles (an African-American Printer). In 1846, the group disbanded, unable to support itself[3]. In 1847, she went to work for George Benson as a housekeeper. He was the brother-in-law of William Lloyd Garrison. In 1849, Sojourner visited her former owner, John Dumont, before he moved west. She started dictating her memoirs to her friend, Olive Gilbert, and in 1850, William Lloyd Garrison privately published her book, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave. That same year she purchased a home in Northampton for $300. In 1851 she left Northampton to join George Thompson, an abolitionist and speaker. In May she attended the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio where she delivered her famous speech. Ain't I a Woman, a slogan she adopted from one of the most famous abolitionist images, that of a kneeling female slave with the caption "Am I Not a Woman and a Sister".


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