Sojourner Truth was an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. Her most famous speech was delivered in 1851, at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. The speech “Ain’t I a Woman?,” became extremely popular during the Civil War. During the Civil War, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army and then after the war, tried to secure land grants for former slaves. Truth then became aware that her son, age 5, had been sold illegally. With the help of the Van Wagenens, she took the issue to court in 1828, and eventually her son was returned to her. Truth became the first black women to go to court against a white man and the first black woman to win the case.
“Life is a hard battle anyway. If we laugh and sing a little as we fight the good fight of freedom, it makes it all go easier. I will not allow my life’s light to be determined by the darkness around me.”