Sojourner Truth: Prophet of Social Justice (Paperback) book cover

Sojourner Truth

Prophet of Social Justice

By Isabelle Kinnard Richman

© 2016 – Routledge

180 pages

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pub: 2016-05-12
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About the Book

Although Sojourner Truth was born into bondage and oppression, in liberation she emerged as a leader in the most radical causes of her era. She travelled the country as an outspoken and riveting presence, battling for the abolition of slavery and for women’s suffrage. While her role in these movements has been well-documented, biographers have frequently overlooked the influence of religion in Truth’s life. A participant in a number of the most significant religious movements of her day, including the Methodist Perfectionists, the Kingdom of Matthias, the Utopians, and the Spiritualists, Truth drew her notions of justice from religion.

Sojourner Truth: Prophet of Social Justice provides a concise biography of this important figure, integrating her religious life in ways that shed light on Truth’s work and the religious movements of her day. Accompanied by primary source documents including political records, speech transcripts, and selections from her autobiography, Richman's biography provides a rich and accessible narrative of Truth's life and legacy.


Isabelle Richman paints a vivid picture of Sojourner Truth‘s life before she became a legend. The Truth that emerges is impossibly fragile and vulnerable, but also pious, just, and resilient. This book reinforces the reasons we love Sojourner Truth so much.

Nikki Taylor, author of Frontiers of Freedom: Cincinnati’s Black Community 1802–1868

Isabella Baumfree, who lived into adulthood as a slave in New York, in 1843 became Sojourner Truth, an apostle of equal rights regardless of race or gender. This concise biography, in peeling back the myths and retelling the life of an iconic nineteenth-century American, effectively weaves together the strands of race, religion, feminism, and abolitionism across the Civil War era.

Peter Wallenstein, author of Cradle of America: A History of Virginia

Table of Contents



Part 1: Sojourner Truth

Chapter 1: Sojourner Truth, Character and Context

Chapter 2: Enslavement to Emancipation

Chapter 3: Preaching in New York

Chapter 4: Abolitionist and Suffragist

Chapter 5: Social Justice Activist to the End

Part 2: Documents



About the Author

Isabelle Kinnard Richman is the Coordinator of the Religious Studies Program at Virginia Commonwealth University.

About the Series

Routledge Historical Americans

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Social History