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Sojourner Truth:
A Woman Ahead of Her Time
by Thea Rozetta Lapham

Sojourner Truth didn't have a web site.

She never appeared on Nightline, never posed for an American Dairy Association ad, or held a conference call.

And she'd never heard of a public relations firm.

Yet she became one of America's most quoted, most outspoken, black women role models for reform. Her secret? She believed her life was in the care of a higher power, she didn't believe in man-made limitations, and she never took "no" for an answer.

In 1797, Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in New York. It was a time when all women ‚ black and white -‚ were considered the property of white men. Women were not allowed to vote, to defend themselves in a court of law, or to enjoy the basic civil and moral rights afforded to white men.

Yet one of the first places Sojourner Truth went, as a free woman, was a nearby court house in Kingston, New York.

It was illegal to sell a minor slave child across state lines. And when Sojourner Truth learned her son Peter had been sold to a man in Alabama, she focused all her energy in one direction: to secure the return of her five year old son Peter.

Sojourner Truth won that court battle, and several others, before her death in Battle Creek on November 26, 1883.

Throughout her life, Sojourner Truth sought social change through peaceful methods. Many great leaders, from Mahatma Gandhi to John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, have also sought peaceful solutions.

Take a moment and think of a way you can help make a peaceful, positive change in your school, neighborhood, or family. You don't need the Internet, television, or a public relations firm. Start by taking a stand for what you believe in, just like Sojourner Truth did.

Remember, actions speak louder than words. Sometimes the greatest way to help people find peaceful solutions is to show them by your example.


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