Sojourner Truth could neither read nor write, but she undoubtedly had wisdom to share as an outspoken abolitionist and women’s rights advocate. Truth’s thoughts on slavery and equality are powerful in and of themselves, but even more so in the context of her circumstances and Christian faith.
Born a slave in Ulster County, New York circa 1797, Truth experienced abuse and hardships at the hands of her master. But after her emancipation in 1827, she found hope in Jesus Christ and converted to Methodism. In 1843 she changed her name from Isabella Baumfree to Sojourner Truth as a symbol of her new-found identity and calling.
Indeed, Truth is most commonly identified as a women’s rights activist and abolitionist. However, her activism was a result of her itinerant evangelist ministry. “Her faith and preaching brought her into contact with abolitionists and women’s rights crusaders, and Truth became a powerful speaker on both subjects,” PBS noted in its This Far by Faith series.
The United Methodist Church affirmed Truth’s advocacy combined her “religious faith with her experiences as a slave.” Truth was a member of the Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in New York City, the founding congregation in the AME Zion Church.
In honor of Black History Month, here are seven of Truth’s powerful quotes on equality grounded in the tenets of Christianity:
1.) “Children, who made your skin white? Was it not God? Who made mine black? Was it not the same God? Am I to blame, therefore, because my skin is black? ….Does not God love colored children as well as white children? And did not the same Savior die to save the one as well as the other?”
2.) “O friends, pity the poor slaveholder, and pray for him. It troubles me more than anything else, what will become of the poor slaveholder, in all his guilt and all his impenitence. God will take care of the poor trampled slave, but where will the slaveholder be when eternity begins?”
3.) “Religion without humanity is very poor human stuff.”
4.) “When I left the house of bondage I left everything behind. I wasn’t going to keep nothing of Egypt on me, an’ so I went to the Lord an’ asked him to give me a new name. And he gave me Sojourner because I was to travel up and down the land showing the people their sins and bein’ a sign unto them. I told the Lord I wanted two names ’cause everybody else had two, and the Lord gave me Truth, because I was to declare the truth to the people.”
5.) “Does not God love colored children as well as white children? And did not the same Savior die to save the one as well as the other? If so, white children must know that if they go to Heaven, they must go there without their prejudice against color, for in Heaven black and white are one in the love of Jesus.”
6.) “Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.”
7.) “Truth is powerful and it prevails.”Google+