Great Men & Women - Sojourner Truth
Easy Readers & Chapter Books

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth (Isabella Baumfree) was born a slave in New York state in 1797. After escaping to freedom with one child, she sued in court for the freedom of her other child. Her life, and that of her children, was harsh and filled with cruelty, but her faith buoyed her and eventually called to her to begin preaching.

During the Civil War she raised food for the Black regiments and met with President Lincoln and writer Harriet Beecher Stowe. She was a tireless campaigner for equal rights for all people.

Internet Resources:

A comprehensive summary for Adults/YA can be found here. This write up however is not suitable for younger children as it glosses over very little of the ugly truth.

Older children might want to read what Social Studies for Kids or The My Hero Project says.


For Younger Children - they should be acquainted with pictures of Sojourner Truth and be able to identify the freedoms she was denied.

Old Children should know the definitions of 'suffrage' and 'abolition', and be asked to discuss slavery's inhumane nature. Whether it denies human dignity and promotes cruelty. They may also be asked to discuss whether they think slavery is proper in a Christian-Judeo society, and whether they would work so hard to right wrongs in their own community.

Sojourner Truth (On My Own Biography)
by Gwenyth Swain

Isabella changed her name to Sojourner Truth because she "was to travel up an' down this declare truth to the people." Her strong voice and faith forced people to listen to her, in spite of her being a woman and a former slave. She traveled thousands of miles and spoke out for God, against slavery and for women's rights. Her moving speeches inspired hope and change in many that heard her."
"She wouldn't wait for Master to free her.
She wouldn't wait for the State of New York to free her.
Before Master awoke, Bell slipped away.
She found freedom."
Reading Information:
Word Count: 1,551
Page Count: 48
Accelerated Reading level: 3.6 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 86048

Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride
by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Brian Pinkney (Illus.)

**starred review** School Library Journal
**starred review** Reed Business

GoodReads: 4.00 avg rating — 54 ratings
--currently all 5-starred reviews at Amazon

Born into slavery, Belle had to endure the cruelty of several masters before she escaped to freedom. And oh, was freedom sweet! But still, she knew that she wouldn't really be free unless she was helping to end slavery and injustice in America. That's when she changed her name to Sojourner and began traveling across the country, demanding equal rights for black people and for women.

exclusive excerpt of Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride#1
A woman of towering height and a mesmerizing speaker, Sojourner began drawing mighty crowds wherever she went. Many people weren't ready for her message—some even threatened her. But Sojourner was brave and her truth was powerful, and people would remember what she said. And slowly, but surely as Sojourner's step-stomp stride, America began to change.

exclusive excerpt of Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride#2
Celebrated author-illustrator team Andrea Davis and Brian Pinkney tell the story of one of the most unique and courageous women in American history, Sojourner Truth.

Reading Information:
Word Count: 1,643
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading level: 4.2 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 135431

Lexile: AD650L
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book (2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0786807679
  • amazon

For other books on important men and women in the Equal Rights movement, see our Index.