We all know Google knows how to do a good doodle. On on Feb. 1, the tech company celebrated icon, abolitionist, preacher and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth to kick off Black History Month with a Doodle created by Philadelphia-based guest artist Loveis Wise.
“As a Black woman, illustrating Sojourner Truth was especially personal and meaningful to me,” Wise said of her illustration Her journey and persistence inspired major change in both rights for enslaved African-Americans and women. Her history is deeply rooted to my ancestors and others around the world. ”
“I was instantly excited and humbled because I would be able to illustrate a figure that I’d always been inspired by. It encouraged me to learn more about her history and other great Black women doing activist work during that period,” the artist added.
Born enslaved in New York in 1797, Truth was given the name Isabella Baumfree. She herself was bought and sold four times, and also bore witness to the harsh reality of the times, witnessing her siblings, and her children being sold into slavery.
According to the National Women’s History Museum, a year before New York’s law freeing slaves was to take effect, Truth escaped with her infant daughter, Sophia and found safety with an abolitionist family, who bought her freedom for $20. After that, the family also helped Truth sue a white slave owner for the return of her five-year-old son, who was illegally sold in Alabama.
She then moved to New York City in 1828, where she began working for a local minister. By 1843, she had expressed that the Spirit called on her to preach the truth. It was at that time she took on the name that we all know and recognize, Sojourner Truth.
During her time in New York City as a preacher, Truth also met with abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, who encouraged her to speak out against the evils of slavery.
In 1850, she narrated her autobiography The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, having never learned to read or write. The book propelled her to national recognition, and she also started to meet with women’s rights activists, joining the cause for gender equality.
After the publishing of her book, she spoke before a women’s rights conference in Akron Ohio in 1851, where she delivered her renowned speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” speaking out against gender and racial inequality, sealing her legacy.
Throughout the rest of her life, Truth continued to fight for equality, including the resettlement of freed people and women’s suffrage. Towards the end of her life, she lived with her daughter’s in Battle Creek, Michigan, where she died of old age on Nov. 26, 1883.
Truth’s legacy can never be denied, and her image can be found in paintings and on statues, as well as in history books. More recently, the US Treasury announced that Truth will be included on the new $10 bill, along with other suffragists. The new bill is expected to be revealed on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, in 2020.
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