Phillis Wheatley's 'Narrative Of Sojourner Truth'

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Extraordinary Women in a Foreign Land

In the 17 and 18th centuries, Slavery was enacted upon, African’s were kidnapped and forced to work for the white man. Slavery in America began in 1619 when 20 captive Africans were sold off as slaves in Jamestown Virginia. King George legalized slavery in 1641 “which would divide the nation” Black slaves became “chattel personal property that could be owned for life.” (Slavery) Phillis Wheatley was purchased as a slave girl off a ship. Phillis Wheatley was a small young girl, her task masters the Wheatley’s educated her to read and write. Phillis Wheatley used her talent as a writer to be an inspiration to others. Isabella Baumfree was born into slavery, sold at the age of 8, had multiple task masters,
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Many people did not want to believe that she could write such an autobiography and therefore it was difficult to get it published. In 1850 she published a “Narrative of Sojourner Truth” which was her autobiography (110 Painter) of her life story of a “spiritual experience” that changed her life from a “virtual slave of a cruel master” (109 Painter ) to a free woman who would preach and help others. Every where she went, people did not want to believe an X-Slave who was uneducated and could not read or write. Other people who were writers easily corresponded through letters and newspapers. Sojourner Truth was not able to do so without the help of others. (Painter 110, 290) Sojourner Truth traveled by foot all over to different meetings where people would invite her as a speaker. In May of 1851, she spoke at a Women’s Rights Convention where she gave her powerful speech “Ain’t I a Woman “Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman?” this is still read about and studied today. She was tall and spoke with a force. (Vol. 1 510) Her speeches were for oppressed people, she was an abolitionist and a women’s right activist. Along with Harriet Beacher Stowe “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman speech “ helped to create the public image of the ex-slave an image which still endures today.”(Vol. 1 601) Sojourner Truth . . . “forgave her slave holders the Dumont’s” (35, 109 Painter) for the unjust treatment as a captive. The speech she gave “What Time of Night it Is” in 1853 she was telling woman to be strong and fight for what is there God given right of equality. As she said “We have all been thrown down so low that nobody thought we’d ever get up again . . . (Vol. 1 511) she showed how woman need to continue to persevere and stay strong
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