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Sojourner Truth, Pt. 1

2019-01-14 | 🔗

Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and women’s rights activist in the 19th century. But because a speech most famously associated with Truth is a version rewritten by someone else, she’s commonly imagined as a different person from who she actually was.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
here's the thing saving money with geico was almost better than playing pick up basketball because there's always there guy who joined your game he never passes the rock he certainly bricks theories and who completely you and then put his hands up and say no foul no foul with geico it's easy the switch and save on car insurance no the vacant fake an ankle sprain because you're absolutely exhausted so we can save with geiger it's almost better than why couldn't you stuff you missed in history class from housetop works tat come hell i would welcome the podcast i'm tracy be well then how far we start today actual episode how do you want to talk about our extremely fighting news i really do we are going to paris
we are i know i said that in a way that sounds very chill but inside my heart is screaming with delight i also said a little like i was asking a question but we are the cool thing is the listeners can come with us which i'm very excited for yes so if you would like to join us it is a six night trips in paris that's june second through the night of twenty nineteen it is run by a company called define destinations and they put together everything and all the logistics and it's all themed around the french revolution but there's a good balance of planned activities and free time yeah duenna people know where they can go if they want to get more info yet if you comes our website which is miss
in history dot com up in the top menu which if you're on mobile you gotta click the little set a bars that does the menu it there's that there is a link that says paris trip exclamation point so yes get your passport in order brush up on your french if you wish and this cause it's gonna be superfine but i must say you do not have to speak french we have been assured we oughta local guides that are handling things and the company has has done trips like this many many times they assured us you don't have to speak french just come along for the ride ma
fine i guess they know it's kind of a comical idea that we're going to france because by french is so bad even though that's the only language i have ever formerly studied to was real experience we will have people who will help us yeah navigate the language i am doing refresher course but if history my personal history is any indicator i will freeze up in the face of a native speaker because i'm so scared that they will just be like you idiot just shut
but speak english there was there was one if i'm early in my career that i needed to call for our ceo to approve something and he was in quebec and when i called the number i was given the person who answered answered in french and at that point i was much closer to my study of french that i am now and when this person's spoke to me in french the only thing i could remember how to say was whereas the train station so do not let our uncertainty of french discourage you from check out this trip again that's missing history dot com over the top there is a link that says paris trip but in a much more excited way than i just said it i'm super excited it's going to be amazing i can't wait i'm going to eat all the things and go to all the fabric stores and i'm going to probably cry a lot
way and unhappy way yeah and now we will get into today's actual podcast today's subject is probably a familiar name to a lot of our listeners because it is sojourner truth she was a very bone abolitionist and women's rights activist in the nineteenth century in twenty sixteen it was announced that she was one of the five women's rights activists who would be on the back of the redesign ten dollar bill because alexander hamilton is going to stay on the front per most famous speech is commonly titled ain't a woman and you can find videos on youtube of women like carry washington and alice walker and sicily thyssen performing this speech sicily thyssen's portrayal is from the unveiling of a bust of sojourner truth
the u s capital and that made her the first black woman to be represented in a sculpture at the capitol so she is not an obscure person who we are talking about today and we're going to be talking about this part of the speech later berry very evocative speech but the version that has the most well known today was written down much later by a woman named francis gauge and gauge was inspired hired by an article in the atlantic written by harriet beecher stowe and both of these two women represented sojourner truce waves working and are really stereotypical way based on what was expected of enslaved people from the south but sojourner truth was not from the south and because ain't i a woman is like literally the war thing that a lot of people know about sojourner truth she is commonly imagined as an incredibly different person from whom she actually was and there is so much to talk about it
her that even though we're doing two parts on her it still feels like we are scratching the surface so today we are to talk about her early life when the first years of her religious work during which time she was known as isabella and then part too we will get into her life as sojourner truth and i also wanted to note that we have had several listener requests to talk about her including from alexis kimberly and megaton sojourner truth was born around seventeen ninety seven in ulster county new york in the hudson river valley in her parents did not name her sojourner as tracy said her name was isabella and shoes nicknamed bell isabella mother elizabeth was known as betsy to the adults on the estate where they were enslaved and the children called her mouth bet i just wanted to clarify that the children called elizabeth mammal bet they didn't call isabella that isabella father james was nicknamed bomb free which was from a low dutch word for tree that was a nickname because here
very tall and he stood very straight so you will often see sojourner truths name from birth listed as isabella bump free but at the time her last name was really considered to be the surname of whoever owned her isabella was a second youngest of between ten and twelve children and we don't know the exact number because records were not always thorough and because most of her older siblings were sold away from the family before she was old enough to remember or even meet them isabella and her family were enslaved by colonel your highness harden burg and he and the other bull around them in ulster county were all dutch isabella grew up speaking only dutch the debts commute in the hudson river valley was very heavily slave owning there were farms at a state that had very large enslaved work forces and colonel harden burg was one of them
largest slave owners in the area when colonel harden burg died in seventeen ninety nine his son charles inherited part of the property and all of the enslaved work works course he started operating one of their residences on the estate as an inn so the enslaved women and girls who have been working in the hardened bird household went from being a families domestic staff to essentially working in a hotel isabella was only about two when all of this happened but ass soon ass she was able to work she was expected to alongside her mother with taught her daughter about what was expected of her and told her about her older siblings and hotter about god and about prayer elizabeth described god is a powerful being who lived in the sky and isabella ever needed help should ask him for it this whole idea of how
a direct relationship with god and seeking his guidance and help would just be an ongoing part of isabella religious life for as long as she lived in eighteen o six charles harden burg died isabella was about nine years old at that time and after his death isabella remaining family were broken up and sold away from one another and by this point her father was elderly he was considered to be a burden so her mother was freed in order to care for him even though she was also still considered able to work isabella though was sold to the mealy family along with a flock of sheep for a total of one hundred dollars john mealy junior understood a little bit a dutch but his wife did not speak dutch at all so in addition to knots in the same language isabella
had only ever lived in a dutch household she just didn't have any experience at all with english culture or english customs and this led to a lot of problems isabella didn't understand what was expected of her and she understand what she was being asked to do when she was given instructions and then he leaves would beat her when she didn't understand among other reasons that they would beat her on top of the beatings there was just the day to day cruelty as one example she wasn't given shoes to wear and she got severe frostbite on her feet during the winter isabella was occasionally able to see her father while she was enslaved by the natives and she told him what was going on and what are the customs and the new york dutch community was but enslaved p we could try to seek out new owners if they wanted a different situation than the one that they currently hat so her father asked around focusing on dutch slaveowners you had a reputation
for being kind not long after isabella was sold again this time to a man named martinez shriver who ran a tavern this is kind of a low class establishment so the work could definitely be dirty a difficult but it was better than being abused by the knees in eighteen ten at the age of about thirteen isabella was sold again this time to a man named john dumont and while john can isabella to be very hard working and very intelligent his wife elizabeth you you'll sometimes see referred to as sally i think that might be some name confusion within their household but elizabeth didn't like her the same was true of the households white servants you intentionally tried to get isabella and trouble one of her job was cleaning and peeling and boiling the families potatoes and one of the servants kept dropping ash into the pot while she wasn't looking specifically to get are in trouble
her narrative isabella mostly attributes this hostility from elizabeth dumont as being because she wasn't raised in a slave owning family and she thought her paid servants were harder working and more trustworthy but jealousy almost certainly played a role as well all the photographs that we have of sojourner truth were taken in the later years of her life but the young isabella was described as attractive willowy and very tall her narrative talks about this time in her life in this way quote
from this source arose a long series of trials in the life of our heroine which we must pass over in silence some from motives of delicacy and others because the relation of them might inflict undeserved pain on some now living who isabel remembers only with esteem and love as one of his senses that says a whole lot without saying anything specific yes but it its people point back to it when talking about like the parentage of her children and what her life was like with this particular family in eighteen fifteen isabella started a relationship with a man named robert who is enslaved add another farm in the area she became pregnant and she had a a named james who died as a baby followed by a dog named diana but roberts owner refused to allow
sue them to get married because any children that is above all a had by him would become john do months property rather than his basically roberts owner didn't want his property to add to the property of some one else dumont selected a man from his own enslaved workforce for isabella to marry a man named thomas and he was significantly older than she was and had been married twice before and they don't seem to have been particularly close isabella and robert continued to see one another until they were caught and he was severely punished after marrying thomas isabella had three more children named peter elizabeth and sofia which might have been pronounced the fire all of them were named after her parents and siblings isabella was
enslaved by their demott family from eighteen ten until her emancipation what we will get to after a quick spencer break here's the thing saving money with geico was almost better than playing pick up basketball because there's always that who joins your game he never passes the rock he boston bricks theories and who completely you and then put his hands up and say no foul no foul with geico it's easy the switch and save on car insurance known the vacant ankle sprain because you're absolutely exhausted so we can save with geiger it's almost better than sports while she was enslaved by the demand family isabella worked both in the home and in the field
and also acted as a wet nurse for elizabeth two months children and this gave isabella thirteen children to look after their were her five and elizabeth eight but we had to put elizabeth children ahead of her own and that might have been a factor in her son james is death when he was still a baby isabella mother had also died suddenly the same year that isabella was sold to the demands her father had been one of the hardest burg family favorites and they had built a cabin for him and made some provisions for his care his later years but he outlived everyone who is expected to look after him and he froze to death sometime after eighteen seventeen together exe adaptation was that her mother would just take care of him until the end of his life but then she died much earlier than
heated along with two other people that had been sort of tasked with trying to look after him that same year eighteen seventeen the state of new york passed a gradual emancipation law would free people born before seventeen ninety nine after a period of ten years there was a previous law that had been passed in said eighteen ninety nine that had done the same for people who were born after july fourth seventeen ninety nine but both isabella her father had been born well before that so that law did not apply to either of them isabella father lived law enough to know that emancipation was coming but he was also in his 80s with a law was passed he died before his own emancipation would come into effect when the one thousand eight hundred and seventeen gradual emancipation law was passed john dumont told isabella that if she works hard he would free her a year early
and for the whole time she had been enslaved on the dumont property she had worked incredibly hard dumont like to say that she could do the work of half a dozen other people and should also be very loyal and very dedicated to him for example refusing to take food without permission even when she or her children desperately needed it because she wanted to behave always in trustworthy way later on in her life she would look back on this attitude with astonishment but at the time she seemed to honestly believe that slavery was the natural order of things and that the two months treatment of her had earned her loyalty after he made this promise to her she started working even harder than she had before to the point that she cut off part of a finger while trying to work too go faster until she could get it all done she kept working in spite of that injury but it did slower down and in eighteen twenty six as the date of her a man
patient in her dear early emancipation became closer they might hold her that because of the time she had lost to that injured hand she would have to work that last year after all isabella tried to convince him to keep his promise pointing out that she had kept working the whole time she was injured even though sometimes she had to do different types of work from before but do mine refuse to let her go she ultimately decided that she would stay on long enough to finish spinning that years wool and that then she would leave but she wasn't sure how she should make her escape so she asked god for guidance about what to do it occurred to her that she should leave just before dawn when there would be
white for her to see but when the household in the neighbors wouldn't really me out of bed yet when she left she took her youngest child sophia with her she went to the home of a man that she knew named leave i rose and he directed her to a quaker family isaac and maria van wagoner we don't know if they pronounced that in the european way of on varner we're going with van wagoner they sheltered her until dumont came after her an accused her of running away and she answered no i did not run away i walked away by daylight and all because you had promised me a year of my time he kept insisting that she returned with him and she kept refusing to do it till isaac fun wagoner offered to buy her freedom for twenty dollars plus five dollars for her baby zoom agreed and isabella started going by the name isabella von wagoner the wagner's considered her to be free although she was working off the debt that had been incurred by buying that freedom and not long after she began
with the van wagner's isabella learned that her son peter who john dumont had sold earlier in the year had been taken out of state it was legal in new york to sell enslaved people out of state but peter had changed hands a couple of times after being sold and was taken tat alabama with the van wagner's financial help isabella took the matter to court which is widely cited as making her the first black woman to win a lawsuit in the united states she was successful but peters return was trauma i say by the time she got her son back they had been separated for more than a year and he didn't recognize or any more in all likelihood he had also been coached to think that she was poland that he was better off where he wasn't alabama he also had scars on his forehead and his cheek from injuries and wind he first i've mother again he said that these injuries had come from being kicked by a horse and from colliding with a carriage
then he later on were revealed that they had come from being beaten once she got her son back isabel his life had a period of relative safety instability her conversations with god had been a daily occurrence for most of her life before this point but once she and her children were safe and either free or about to become so that became so the focus but that changed in eighteen twenty seven during the holiday of pink stir pink stir as a whole
day that developed among enslaved africans in dutch new york in the seventeen hundreds and it happened around the observance of pentecost which is also known as wit sunday in the christian tradition after jesus is crucifixion resurrection and ascension into heaven the holy spirit came to the disciples during the harvest festival of pentecost in its described in the book of acts when the day of pentecost came they were all together in one place suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting they saw what seem to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them all of them were filled with the holy spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the spirit enabled them today pentecost is observed as a christian holiday fifty days after easter
andy in dutch new york this pentecost observance of pink stir became a distinctly african american holiday that was a multi day festival in which enslaved people from neighbouring farms and communities got together to take a break from work gather eat dance play games and celebrate for some enslaved africans pink stir had the religious aspects of pentecost but for others it was more of a secular holiday leading up to pink stir eighteen twenty seven isabella had a premonition that john dumont was going to come to the van wagner's and take her back with him and she felt tat she should go and she got herself and sofia ready but as she was approaching his wagon she had a sudden burst of insight that she described as a flash of lightning she immediately knew that quote there was no place where god was not she felt ashamed that she had lapsed in her daily
talks with god and awe struck by the immensity of everything by the time this vision past dumont had left and she returned to her work it was not long after this that her religious visions would lead her to leave rural new york and go to new york city and we'll talk about that after a sponsor break it seems that you should be easy but is not just getting out of bed and getting your day started trying to accomplish everything you need to do in your day that to do list as a lot easier when you're getting news stories and music to lift your mood and preparing for the day ahead connected to the things that make you laugh and make you think or make you want to reach out and share with a friend every morning with us it's elvis joanne in the morning show listen to us on cue one or two or anywhere in the world on the i hurt radio app
after the experience around pink stir eighteen twenty seven isabella religious life take up our outward turn our relationship with god had always been this really individual thing that was focused on her own prayers and her own experience but afterward she joined the methodist church and then an african methodist episcopal church when isabella moved to new york city in eighteen twenty eight she attended the african methodist episcopal zion church she was also a preacher in her own right her preaching was heavily influenced by the idea of perfectionism which was described by anita community founder john humphrey noise protectionism is the idea that up and can become free from sin three religion and willpower she also really devoted herself to mission work within the city including ministering to sex workers and encouraging them to join an asylum that was known as the magdalen society as
as far as i know this was not alert to the magdalen laundries that we talk about which was sort of like a punishment place for fallen women this was more like a shelter and halfway house for women who had been doing sex work and we're leaving that life just because that name is so evocative i wanted to make that clear why he was doing this work she met a presbyterian man named eliza pearson and the i go on society had grown out of an asylum for women that he had been running from his home but which had faltered after the death of his wife had grown out of an asylum for women that he had been running from his home but which had faltered after the death of his wife things together and charitable and religious missions when he asked her if she'd been baptized her answer was that she had by the holy spirit this religious
at work eventually led isabella to a man named robert matthews who would take the name father matthias just spelled messiahs some people might pronounce it that way most romantic languages see matias so we're going with that and that's named after the disciple who replaced judas after he betrayed jesus and he has been raised as a presbyterian but after his adoption of the name matias he had begun describing himself as jewish because jesus and his disciples were all jewish when isabella met matthias she had she quote felt as if god had sent him to set up the kingdom he seemed to have this really deep and profound understanding of scripture and he looked to her like one of jesus his disciples like he physically looked like a picture of one of the disciples she clearly thought he was genuine although she did also introduce him to eliza to get his opinion as well ultimately mateau established a religious commune known as the kingdom but it was controversial from this
part they had to move out of new york city and indistinct in new york in eighteen thirty three after a dispute with the family of one of mitosis followers led to a police raid amity is his arrest isabella supported mitya through all of this including convincing eliza to help material get released her support continued after the king move to sing sing which is now known as auditing yet they change their name to distance themselves from the prison isabel as support of father matthias was really in spite of teachings that went directly against her and her own religious work she was the kingdoms only black member but she did the overwhelming share of all of the work including all the dirtiest and hardest tasks with no compensation for any of this work at all material demand that sea and eliza give up the sabbath school that they had established outside of the kingdom matthews also preached that women's only role was to be completely obese
it's a man and man who taught women were wicked and women were allowed to preach while they were sing thing he also started encouraging the kingdoms men to share their wives with him isabella did not approve of all of this wife sharing but she did continue to think that materials religious work was genuine and important and that she was there to help him the kingdom fell apart in eighteen thirty five elijah pearson had died under mysterious circumstances the year before he had been ill for quite some time but he died suddenly after eating too helpings of blueberries at dinner isabella was accused of poisoning him the folder family who were living at the kingdom accused her of poisoning them as well all of these charges were baseless though it isabella took the soldiers to court for slander and she was awarded a one hundred twenty five dollars settlement
it became clear in all of this that material was not the holy man that he claimed to be this could be a whole other episode that is just full of weirdness and scandal and like it has a lot of the hallmarks of religious communes where practices get very strange and unsettling to people in whole thing just caused a giant scandal that got a lot of sensationalize news coverage at the time and isabella was really mortified by all of it she realized he had been wrong in her assessment of father tests and that really broke her trust and organised churches and in care is magic religious leaders isabella return to new york city and tried to resume her religious work she often had trouble making ends me especially after the panic of eighteen thirty seven she was trying to make her way as a preacher and charitable worker in a world in which many
churches didn't allow women to preach at all her life made a major change once again on june first of eighteen forty three and that's when she finally took the names so during our truth and that is what we will talk about in our next episode to have listener may offer us a sure new business nor mail is about a saturday classic which a lot of times our saturday classic surfer back in the archive in a you know that there are not things that we
necessarily get into again because often we have already talked about them and other listener males in the past because the question that i thought other people might have its is an email from lisa lisa says i was looking forward to the additional dickens podcast sarah into billina twice mentioned would becoming once at the beginning of their podcast at about two minutes and twenty four seconds into the real broadcast and again at twenty three minutes thirty three seconds i just would like to say that telling us win specifically a thing happened in an episode is enormously helpful so thank you for doing that so what they said was the dickens had multiple households to support say what i definitely missed that in history
an english let class however when i put charles dickens in the search bar at stuffy missin history website i didn't find anything other than charles dickens slams madonna a century and a half ago which predates sarah and dublin as victims podcast annesley blog post so i went back to their original david podcast on my apple podcast up and scroll through the rest of the twelve episode there was not a single additional one about dickens what happened to their promised additional episodes and would you please add charles dickens of multiple houses as to your subject list thank you lisa so this required a little better research because you ve sarah and debate have got onto other jobs and i dont like the pester people who work somewhere else now about things from years ago but according to a thread on twitter from back and twenty as well
had planned to do this other episode which they obviously were intending to do and the one that we re cast as a classic but it turned out when they tried to get into it that they're just wasn't enough information to make it work i think what their referring to is that later on in his life charles dickens fell in love with a young woman named elam turnin who was acting in a play that he was working on and then he went on legally separate from his wife but he didn't divorce her or get married to ellen because it would have been way way way to scandalous that the time for somebody of his level of fame to do that i found article about it and there is a biography on her but at the time that sarah into billina recorded this episode i think it was out of print they might not have been able to get access to it or even known that it existed possibly and i think that is what they were talking about this
your may not become an episode in the future our lists is extremely long but if he were listening to that saturday classic and we're like wait i can't find this other episode that they are talking about that is what happened so thank you so much lisa for sending us that email and thanks to everybody who the two hundred per day classics even though we don't always know the answers to questions about past episodes from market if you would like to write to us about this or any other podcast where history podcast and house networks dot com and then we're oliver social media as mr history that is our facebook and our interests and our instagram in art winter you can come to our website that missed in history dot com where you will find show notes for all the epithet italian i have worked on together searchable archive of every episode ever and that link in the menu that says paris trip exclamation point
we can also subscribe to our podcast on apple podcast i hurt radio and anyone else who get podcast for more on this and thousands of other topics visit housetop work stockholm tyrian rockers apart best coming of age story about finding a home in rock music and learning to flourish and your own weird way it's also a series of letters and advice to my younger self as she navigates the pressures of adolescence deals with social anxiety body issues and relationships and discovers the transformative power of music walker comes to you from double elvis production is created and hosted by me chelsea person and executive produced by jake brennan disgraceland episode one drops wednesday january 15th listen to dear on the i radio app apple pod costs or wherever you get your podcast
Transcript generated on 2020-01-14.