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Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth
Randall Studio, active 1865 - 1875?
Sojourner Truth, c. 1797 - 26 Nov 1883
c. 1870
Albumen silver print
Image/Sheet: 14.4 × 10.3 cm (5 11/16 × 4 1/16")
Mount: 16.5 × 10.8 cm (6 1/2 × 4 1/4")
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Chair
Photographic format\Cabinet card
Sojourner Truth: Female
Sojourner Truth: Education\Educator\Lecturer
Sojourner Truth: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Abolitionist
Sojourner Truth: Society and Social Change\Enslaved person
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
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