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Sojourner Truth

Artist
Randall Studio, active 1865 - 1875?
Sitter
Sojourner Truth, c. 1797 - 26 Nov 1883
Date
c. 1870
Type
Photograph
Medium
Albumen silver print
Dimensions
Image: 14.4 × 10.3 cm (5 11/16 × 4 1/16")
Mount: 16.5 × 10.8 cm (6 1/2 × 4 1/4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
NPG.79.220
Exhibition Label
Sojourner Truth participated in the debates over which group should get suffrage first—black men or women. In 1867, the former slave declared: “If colored men get their rights, and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before.” Having experienced unequal pay due to her gender, she became concerned with women’s economic prosperity. To earn a living, Truth sold her autobiography and portraits like this one. Here, her inscription, “I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance,” emphasizes her financial acumen.
Sojourner Truth estuvo activa en los debates sobre quiénes deberían obtener primero el sufragio: los hombres negros o las mujeres. En 1867 esta antigua esclava declaró: “Si los hombres de color consiguen sus derechos y las mujeres de color no, verán que los hombres de color mandarán sobre las mujeres, y será tan malo como antes”. Habiendo sido víctima de discrimen salarial por su género, también le preocu- paba la prosperidad económica de las mujeres. Para sostenerse, vendía su autobiografía y retratos como este. La inscripción subraya su inteligencia financiera: “Vendo la sombra para mantener la sustancia”.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence
On View
NPG, South Gallery 120