Remembering Sojourner Truth

Published 10:50 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

In my collection I have a carte de visite, or CdV, of Sojourner Truth. The photograph was taken in Michigan in 1863, the year the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and the year the United States Colored Troops was organized.

In this photo you will see an open-cased photograph of her grandson James Caldwell sitting on her lap. He was one of the members who joined the famous USCT’s 54th Massachusetts Regiment and would go on to fight at Fort Wagner in South Carolina, where he would be taken prisoner and held in a Confederate prison for most of the remainder of the year.

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Sojourner Truth was an African American evangelist, abolitionist, women’s rights activist and author who lived a miserable life as a slave, serving several masters throughout New York before escaping to freedom in 1826. After gaining her freedom, Truth became a Christian and, at what she believed was God’s urging, preached about abolitionism and equal rights for all, highlighted in her stirring “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech, delivered at a women’s convention in Ohio in 1851. She continued her crusade for the rest of her life, earning an audience with President Abraham Lincoln and becoming one of the world’s best-known human rights crusaders.

The people of our country in the 1840s as Sojourner Truth began her protest were hurting, the people of the Civil War era were hurting, the people of the 1960s were hurting and the people of today are hurting. There are only three things that will actually heal us as a nation for the hurting that we have been going through since the days of Sojourner Truth and before. That is repentance, forgiveness and, the main one, love. You see, love creates forgiveness and forgiveness creates love.

All of this needs to be followed by what my daughter calls “Dad Hugs” ― hugs that say I love you, hugs that say I am with you, hugs that say it is going to be OK. It really does not matter what color you are; it does not matter what part of the world you are from. We are all humans; we are all Americans. We all have red blood running through our veins. Do we have differences? Sure, but none that can not be solved by forgiveness, love and a dad hug.

Doug York