Sojourner Truth
A Biography
by Larry G. Murphy
January 2011, 176pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35728-2
$39, £29, 33€, A56
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35729-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Born into slavery in Ulster County, New York, in 1797, the woman named Isabella escaped to freedom in 1826 and adopted the name Sojourner Truth in 1843. Throughout her long life, she was a tireless crusader for human dignity and freedom. How did this illiterate former slave overcome such daunting obstacles to become a mesmerizing orator and celebrated leader?

This simple narrative of an extraordinary life explores the power of a disinterested commitment to right and truth.

Sojourner Truth: A Biography traces this remarkable woman’s life from her birth through adulthood and to her death in 1883. Drawing from public pronouncements, personal correspondence, and journalistic accounts of key historical actors, it follows her extraordinary career and sets the events of her life in the larger context of U.S. social and political history.

The years during which Truth lived bore witness to tremendous social and religious ferment in the United States, including, of course, the Civil War. Truth was directly involved, indeed an influential figure, in many contentious issues of the period, from slavery and abolition to religious revivalism, women’s rights, temperance, racial reconciliation, and more. Her story serves as a prism through which readers will better understand how these complex matters were adjudicated in 19th-century America. More than that, her life demonstrates what courage, character, and principle can accomplish against all odds.


  • Quotes from and graphic reprints of documents by and about Sojourner Truth
  • Photos of Sojourner Truth, her children, and important figures and venues in her life
  • A chronology of the major events and key turning points in her life
  • A bibliography of books, articles, news journals, Internet publications, and related historical and interpretive materials about Sojourner Truth’s life
Larry G. Murphy, PhD, is professor of the history of Christianity at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. Dr. Murphy wrote African American Faith in America, edited Down by the Riverside: Readings in African American Religion, and coedited the Encyclopedia of African American Religions.


"highly recommended for both public and college biography collections."—Midwest Book Review, March 1, 2011
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