[Read] ➳ Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol By Nell Irvin Painter – Heartforum.co

10 thoughts on “Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol

  1. says:

    So I was really excited to read this not disappointed , though it got lost in the shuffle of moving and my thoughts are all disjointed I love how the author organizes the book in terms of Truth s actual life and then how she has been used as a symbol by various people and movements.Finally got the back story on Ain t I a Woman and how it was re written in southern black dialect But the thing is, Truth was from New York and spoke Dutch And this brings me to the point that U.S slavery has become so strongly tied to the South in mainstream discussion, though it s important to realize how fully the entire country has relied on slave labor and how closely it was tied to Northern interests as well as Southern I kept thinking about this especially after the Charleston shooting and all the controversy over the Confederate flags Yes, of course, bring them down But a history of slavery and current racial divisions are not a simple racist South enlightened North division It s too easy And it deflects away from the kinds of questioning that needs to happen throughout the whole country.Anyway, Truth was a complete badass Her commitment to her spirituality was really interesting A lot of the early connections she made with abolitionists and feminists came from her being involved in religious communities with middle class white people rather than from being an activist Also, reading this book was really helpful in understanding her as a flawed, real person She s a really important figure, and I highly recommend this one

  2. says:

    I had no idea that the caption for the cover image, which is the most popular image that remains of Sojourner Truth, is I sell the shadow to support the substance Painter s fascinating biography paints the fullest description of Truth s life I have read, puts Truth s own autobiography into context includes a number of surprising to me elements including a 1858 breast baring incident during which Truth showed her breasts to prove her womanhood and shame the audience of mainly white men details about Truth s complicated religious history she was an illiterate itinerant preacher known for challenging Frederick Douglass by famously asking him, Is God Dead , but later in her life frequented seances and hung out with spiritualist Quakers and, at the end, asks the question of whether or not we are comfortable enough with the nuances of Truth s life to be curious than we are about her trajectory rather than her usefulness as a symbol A very intriguing and well written biography.

  3. says:

    Nell Irvin Painter s biography of Sojourner Truth is unique, I think, because of the author s attempt, not only to accurately portray Truth s life, but also to understand the making and value of Truth as a symbol Before reading this book, I recommend making some notes on what you know about Sojourner Truth You may be surprised at how wrong or incomplete your picture of her is I learned several things that really stood out for me One was that Truth was illiterate Although she was reportedly very well spoken, we have to rely on accounts written by other people for access to what she may not have said, leaving the reality of Truth s words open for debate Another interesting fact is that Truth s first language was Dutch She was actually a slave in New York state, not in the South and so all those reports of her words written in that old time, slavey, Southern dialect are just plain false Truth did have her photo taken and sold cards of her shadow as a means of supporting herself, so at least we do have real images of her rather than just artists renditions.Truth struck me as a very modern woman in the way she lived her life After a short marriage, she apparently lived the rest of her life without marrying or partnering again She traveled a lot, and often by herself, which was altogether rare then and even so for a woman and an African American She was a Northerner, an urban person She joined groups, lived in communes, and participated in a variety of interests throughout her life I was deeply impressed with the way she rescued her son from slavery through legal means NY outlawed slavery in about 1827, although enslaved people born after about 1800 would continue as indentured servants until about age 25 Truth s son Peter was illegally sold to slaveholders in the South, where he would have remained enslaved until the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation Truth went to court to get her son back, and she won Even after reading this biography, I have a lot of unanswered questions about Sojourner s life When did she learn English What was her sense of herself as a mother She left all of her children, except her one year old baby, still enslaved when she left slavery One of her children was just two years old How is it that Truth s estimation of her age was so off base She never knew her exact age, and thought she was about 105 years old at the time of her death I m not sure how Irvin Painter arrived at Truth s birth date I couldn t find a reference in her sources but she pinpointed Truth s birth to around 1797, making her about 86 when she died This work was sometimes very dry and scholarly, which makes sense since it was written by a historian who highly values scholarly work I m glad I read this, and now I long for a skilled writer to create a first person, fictionalized account of Sojourner s life and attempt to answer all my questions.

  4. says:

    As an abolitionist and feminist, she put her body and her mind to a unique task, that of physically representing women who had been enslaved At a time when most Americans thought of slaves as male and women as white, Truth embodied a fact that still bears repeating Among the blacks are women among the women, there are blacks About a month ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to hear The Reverend Doctor William Barber speak More information about him here He was speaking about the times in our history that religious groups had responded well to the issues of the day Starting with Reconstruction after the Civil War, Barber gave an incredible history lesson to everyone in the room As he spoke, Barber referenced a number of authors and histories I wrote down all that information so I could read through them and learn some new things about my country s history.With this first book, my eyes have been opened I knew there was slavery in the North, I had heard that members of the Society of Friends in Philadelphia had owned slaves I had never really considered what that meant Who were the slaves What happened to them after slavery was banned in the North Were their lives any better or were they worse This book answered questions that I didn t even know I should be asking.Sojourner Truth was a slave in New York State She and her family were enslaved, abused and taken advantage of through slavery and the aftermath Her whole life was affected by her enslavement.I had no idea what Sojourner Truth s life really was like I knew the synopsis, the children s tale of what Sojourner Truth did There is so much Painter has written an amazing tale about a woman I really didn t know What makes it remarkable is how few resources were available to Painter To tell this life story took some incredible research.If you think you know Sojourner Truth, pick up this book If you like to read about remarkable people who have overcome incredible odds, read this sooner than later You will be amazed.

  5. says:

    I picked up this book because I was curious to learn about Sojourner Truth beyond the vague outline I d picked up a nineteenth century African American woman who d campaigned for an end to slavery and for women s rights, a towering figure known for addressing a white audience with her famous Ain t I a woman speech And it turns out that preconceptions like that are Nell Irvin Painter is trying to undo with this biography Painter ably demonstrates that Truth s life has been co opted and transformed by the need of later writers feminists, womanists, social justice activists in particular to create an iconic image of a Strong Black Woman, often by ignoring the documentary evidence about Truth s life Truth likely never said Ain t I a woman , but the myth is often enticing and less challenging than the reality I would actually have liked to have seen of the book devoted an exploration of that symbolism, and to a dissection of the ways in which even eminent historians of American history like Linda Kerber have fallen prey to the myth making However, the space which Painter devotes to the postbellum women s rights movement in the States is very absorbing and makes good use of the sources though I have to say, as a medievalist, I found Painter s frequent complaints about the paucity of the sources amusing while it s true that they re fewer than we would like, and there are none from Truth s point of few as she was illiterate, there are still far things that we know about Truth than we do about the vast majority of medieval European women, regardless of colour or social status.

  6. says:

    Wow, I had no idea that the symbol of Truth does not necessarily match the lived life of Truth Who knew, before Painter s careful consideration of documents produced around the events of Truth s life since Truth was unable to read or write,that the infamous phrase attributed to Truth, ain t I a woman, was likely the construction of Frances Dana Gage writing twelve years after the event at which Truth gave that speech Not to mention, this publication of Truth s speech came at a time when Harriet Beecher Stowe was experiencing enormous popularity and wealth over her abolitionist publications Such a well researched, carefully crafted narrative of Truth that puts into tension our socially, culturally constructed understanding and necessity for symbol of Truth with the complicated reality of Truth s life.

  7. says:

    Sojourner Truth is a strong female hero She escaped with her children to New York to get away from slavery She helped recruit African Americans for the Union Army She is known for her famous women s speech Ain t I a woman Ms Truth fought for slave freedom, women s rights, and the harsh treatment of African American soldier s after the civil war until her death This book is a beautiful well written story of Ms Truth during a period that was hard for any African American woman especially one that spoke her mind This book really made me admire Ms Truth even I think this book should be a required reading during the 6th 9th grade.

  8. says:

    So the Sojourner Truth we were all introduced to was a creation of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Frances Dana Gage who found her fascinating and characterized her as a fierce and capativating presence that could quell an audience with her ready wit In reality, Sojourner was a woman of courage, but deep reflection and common sense, who didn t seek the limelight, someone who wanted to protect her children and provide for herself She was indeed courageous, clever, and wise beyong anyone s expctations of a black woman but,she was in fact a complicated and multi faceted personality Unfortunately, she couldn t write or else we would have printed material that would speak to her story from her own hand I would like for Painter to have provided authenticated anecdotal stories of what Truth did say because the book seems to diminish what she said and accomplished in her many years of aboltionist and women s right advoacyand maybe that was was she was intending to do, but was unable to honestly do so because Truth was but a poor and uneducated woman without the means to document her legacy.Maybe I was loooking for the symbol just like Painter accuses, as she explains Truth is consumed as a signifier and beloved for what we need her to have said It is no accident that in each case, other people writing as well after the fact made up what we see as most meaningful Stories were written about her years after the fact, and the further you get from the event, the less reliable it is it is written nostalgically and given to stereotyping based on an accumulation of work.I still want to believe the myth I admit it I do I was drawn to her by her bravery and her wise words in the face of prejudice I loved her insight and her daring.And I still do.

  9. says:

    This is a great book because it deconstructs the construction of her as a mystical figure We learn about her life and how she was an advocate for both women s rights as well as rights for African Americans I really enjoyed reading about her and the work that she has done It was a very good read, forming opinions from other works or earlier narratives Good read if you want to find out who the real Sojourner Truth was.

  10. says:

    Brilliant book.

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Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol Though She Was Born Into Slavery And Subjected To Physical And Sexual Abuse By Her Owners, Sojourner Truth Came To Represent The Power Of Individual Strength And Perseverance She Championed The Disadvantaged Black In The South, Women In The North Yet Spent Much Of Her Free Life With Middle Class Whites, Who Supported Her, Yet Never Failed To Remind Her That She Was A Second Class Citizen Slowly, But Surely, Sojourner Climbed From Beneath The Weight Of Slavery, Secured Respect For Herself, And Utilized The Distinction Of Her Race To Become Not Only A Symbol For Black Women, But For The Feminist Movement As A Whole

  • Paperback
  • 384 pages
  • Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol
  • Nell Irvin Painter
  • English
  • 21 August 2019
  • 9780393317084

About the Author: Nell Irvin Painter

Nell Irvin Painter is an American historian notable for her works on southern history of the nineteenth century She is retired from Princeton University, and served as president of the Organization of American Historians She also served as president of the Southern Historical Association.She was born Nell Irvin to Dona and Frank E Irvin, Sr She had an older brother Frank who died young Her