Sojournor Truth was born in 1797. As a child she spoke only Dutch, and she never learned to read or write. She was sold to four new owners before walking away to freedom in 1826. We share this information as an important part of the Underground Railroad that came through Michigan and had connections to Battle Creek, Marshall, and Albion.
Sojourner Truth memorial park in Battle Creek. Sojourner 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. After going to court to recover her son, in 1828 she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man.
She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843. Her best-known speech was delivered extemporaneously, in 1851, at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.
O’ God, thou art my last master, and thy name is Truth, So shall Truth be my abiding name until I die.
Sojourner Truth, born Isabella, was a former slave who claimed the right to name herself, along with her freedom. At a time in the nineteenth century when a forceful women’s voice was rarely heard in public, Truth, lacking formal education, but endowed with a sharp wit and an unadorned but powerful eloquence, spoke with authority and conviction to audiences across the northeast and Midwest.
The nation’s largest monument to the Underground Railroad. The 28-foot long, 14-foot high bronze statue depicts abolitionist Harriet Tubman, known as “Black Moses,” and local “conductors” Erastus and Sarah Hussey as they lead a group of runaway slaves to safety. Designed by sculptor Ed Dwight. Near the Kellogg House in downtown Battle Creek. Built by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to honor men and women who operated the Underground Railroad, as well as courageous fugitives who fled north to freedom.
Sojourner Truth was known for her oratory. It is difficult for us to understand the impact that Sojourner Truth had upon her audiences. Some quotes
“I am a woman’s rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that?
I can’t read, but I can hear. I have heard the bible and have learned that Eve caused man to sin. Well, if woman upset the world, do give her a chance to set it right side up again.
I believe in Jesus, and I was forty years a slave but I did not know how dear to me was my posterity. I was so beclouded and crushed. But how good and wise is God, for if the slaves knowed what their true condition was, it would be more than the mind could bear. ”
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 it not cast a reproach on our Maker to despise a part of His children, because He has been pleased to give them a black skin? Indeed, children, it does; and your teachers ought to tell you so, and root up, if possible, the great sin of prejudice against color from your minds.”
The Calhoun County Visitors and Convention Bureau developed a Geo Cache game about the Underground Railroad that includes all of Calhoun County. It is a good way to educate people as to our heritage. The brochure is shown below in a pdf form. It is available at the Marshall Chamber of Commerce, the Albion Chamber of Commerce, and more places in Albion.
The Underground Railroad Sculpture in Battle Creek is an important way to tell the story of our heritage. We will post a map later of where this sculpture is so that more people can walk along the trail in Battle Creek by the river and learn about our history in a new way.
Mid Michigan including Marshall has a lot of history about the Underground Railroad and Marshall has its share.
Sources for the text that goes with the images in the mosaic:
What is Geo caching? “There are millions of geocaches hidden around the world—there are probably some near you right now.” It’s a way to get outside and explore, learn and solve puzzles. Some people do Geo caching with their dog, so that other people won’t wonder why you are exploring odd places! There is a little container that will have a clue – that is what you are looking for – after using a smart phone to put in the geo coordinates. The little container might have a magnet, it might be on the back of a street sign for example. This is a very popular past time for destination tourism. Here is a little information about Geo caching. geocaching.com/
Below is a brochure with a Geo Cache game about the Underground Railroad in Calhoun County. Click on the arrows at the bottom of the image to preview the entire brochure. A beautiful full color printed brochure is available for free at the Calhoun County Tourism and Visitor Bureau, The Marshall Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce. Enjoy Geo-Caching!