cover image Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?

Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?

Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick McKissack, Jr.. Scholastic, $13.95 (186pp) ISBN 978-0-590-44690-7

This work by the authors of A Long Hard Journey--The Story of the Pullman Porter is a great deal more than a biography of a remarkable woman. The forceful narrative also offers a startling portrayal of a pivotal yet appalling era in American history. Born a slave in Ulster County, N.Y., in 1797, ``Hardenbergh's Belle'' (so named after her first owner) had been bought and sold by several masters by the time she was a teenager. In 1826, betrayed by an owner who reneged on his promise to free her if she ``worked extra hard,'' Belle made the first of many intrepid moves, and escaped with her youngest child. After living for some time in New York City, in 1843 the deeply religious woman followed what she interpreted as a directive from God and, assuming the name of Sojourner Truth, went off ``to do the Lord's work.'' For the rest of her long life, the indefatigable abolitionist and feminist journeyed from one state to another, delivering her impressively articulate message at anti-slavery and women's rights conventions--often to hostile, jeering audiences. The authors' meticulously researched account describes Truth's relationships with such noted figures as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Abraham Lincoln, underscoring the book's value as a chronicle of not just one, but many courageous individuals' battles against injustice. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)