Sojourner Truth was an Advocate for Human Rights

Anastasia O'Melveny

By Anastasia O’Melveny

American Abolitionist, Civil Rights and Women’s Rights activist Sojourner Truth was born in slavery in 1797 in rural Ulster County, New York. She died in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1883 at the age of 105.

She was first separted from her family and sold as a slave at the age of 9 years old and many more times again after that. Having to work long grueling days, year after year, deplorable conditons, she suffered both physical and sexual abuse from her owners. She was promised her freedom more than once but never received it.

Finally, after much thought and prayer, risking her very life, she walked to freedom – emancipating herself she called it – in 1826. She later dictated a narrative of her life which focused on what inspired her escape and to fight for freedom and justice: her religious faith and beliefs.

In 1851, though not invited, she attended a Women’s Rights Convention in Akron Ohio and speaking up during the discussion, she was astonished to be listened to for the first time in her life. From then on, she attended and spoke at many similar gatherings around the country. Even then, “Fake News” was at work as people tried to make her efforts and words seem even more controversial and dangerous to the status quo than they were.

Over the years she worked with many other leaders of the time who were fighting for justice and equality: Frederick Douglass, Marius Robinson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and William Lloyd Garrison. During the Civil War, she worked tirelessly, and joined efforts supporting Union soldiers, the Underground Railway and groups assisting freed people like herself. She was especially proud of her grandson. James, who joined Massachusetts 54th, the first black regiment of Massachusetts. She was arrested multiple times for her war and human rights efforts. At the end of the war, she was invited to visit President Lincoln at the White House.

Even after the The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, she continued to advocate and speak for justice for all, but especially for people of color and women. Recently, the US Treasury announced that her image was tol be featured on the new ten-dollar bill – but we’re still waiting. Even so, other memorials and commemorations are being been built in her honor, and her life and inspring story and writings are being studied now more than ever.

Anastasia O'Melveny

I painted this picture for my sister who is a great admirer abd lives near Sojourner Truth’s birthplace in the Hudson Valley. Like Sojourner Truth, my sister Mary is also an activist and an advocate for Civil rights, Workers’ rights, Women’s rights and all other human rights.

As a person with autism with learning disabilities as well as communication and social deficits, I started using creative mediums like music and art to express myself at a very young age and I have continued to so my whole life. Whether using the oldest methods of painting or the new digital and multi-media forms, I enjoy experimenting and combining materials and tools and now add writing, music and sound to my artworks whenever possible.

My autism was not diagnosed until age 54. Consequently, my life was quite difficult at times both growing up and after. I lived in a group setting for almost two decades before living on my own. In a way I have lived multiple lifetimes of experiences- living in the country, in the mountains and on a farm, even by the sea, and in cities large and small.

I have done all kinds of work to make a living – farming, gardening, fishing, carpentry, plastering, electrical work, computers, crafts, caring for people and for animals, office work, religious work. But almost always, and sometimes simultaneously, artwork.

You can see more of my art at Among my other interests, I’m very involved with the AANE (Aspergers/Autism Network) and with with the AANE Artist Collaborative which is a large, nationwide group for Artists with Autism.

11 replies on “Sojourner Truth was an Advocate for Human Rights”
  1. says: Lisa

    I saw that but I just didn’t see black writers been emailing out. Plus why is there a separation of race? Why not one big group?

    1. says: admin

      They are included in the regular group and also autistics of color are in a separate group because people like you ask if we have autistics of color who are part of our project. So if you look at our front page that shows our latest blog posts. Every one of the blog posts have been emailed out. I think you are looking to find fault with our project so I am not going to respond anymore.

  2. says: Lisa Smith

    No I am not and far from what I was or is thinking. I was just curious that’s all. I hope you didn’t became offended because I was curious and asked questions.

  3. says: Lisa

    I am or was not thinking about it that way but was just curious. I hope my curiosity didn’t offend you.

    1. says: admin

      No offense taken. Everyone of our blog posts gets emailed out when they are posted. Sometimes we change the date of a prior posted blog post because it is relevant again (that does not get emailed out but gets bumped to our front page).

Comments are closed.