National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Sojourner Truth: American\African American
Abolitionist and women's-rights leader Sojourner Truth worked tirelessly for the poor and disenfranchised in mid-nineteenth-century America. Born into slavery, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth in 1843 to reflect her religious conversion and her commitment to reform. Soon after, she was traveling throughout the nation lecturing about the inhumanity of slavery and the rights of African Americans and women. A tall and imposing figure, she fought especially for the poor, who often had no voice in such debates, as she knew from personal experience, asking famously, "and ain't I a woman?" To heighten awareness for her work and to raise funds to support it, Truth sold copies of her autobiography and photographs of herself. As she wrote on the mounts of many of these portraits, "I sell the shadow to support the substance."