Pioneering Women and Early Government Leaders

Sojourner Truth

a 22-cent stamp with a picture of Sojourner Truth, an African American woman, on it in portrait, wearing a white bonnet and looking directly at the viewer. Another smaller image is superimposed upon the first, of Truth with one arm raised, speaking at a podium.
Sojourner Truth was a prolific speaker whose messages helped empower women and facilitate change. Her most famous speech “Ain’t I a Woman” promoted her goal of including black women in the women’s rights movement. The Sojourner Truth stamp was issued in 1986.

Isabella Bomfree was born about 1797, a slave in New York. In 1826, her son’s owner sold the child into slavery in Alabama. Isabella sued for his return and won the case. She received her freedom in 1828 and soon after had a religious conversion. She changed her name to Sojourner Truth and began to preach and travel. She became involved in a group that supported abolition of slavery and the advancement of women. She helped freed slaves find jobs, taught them homemaking skills, and petitioned Congress to give land to former slaves. Although she was unable to read and write, she dictated her autobiography The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave. She continued to dedicate her life to preaching, promoting women, and helping former slaves start their new lives.