Truth, Sojourner (1797?–1883), U.S. abolitionist and feminist. Born into slavery in New York State as Isabella Baumfree, she escaped shortly before slavery was declared unlawful in the state (1828). In 1843, after taking the name Sojourner Truth, she became a traveling preacher. Soon after, she began to speak out against slavery, the first black woman to do so. She was known for her passionate oratorial style, her great energy, and her ready wit. In 1864 she went to Washington, D.C., to work for improved living and working conditions for the black people who settled there after fleeing the South. In the 1870s she tried unsuccessfully to convince the U.S. government to set apart undeveloped land for farms for blacks.
See also: Abolitionism.