Sojourner Truth, Betsey Stockton, Harriet Tubman, & Anna Murray-Douglass

Bill Federer

Born a slave in New York in 1797, she spoke only Dutch until sold around the age of 9, together with a flock of sheep, for $100.

Suffering hardships, her third master made her marry an older slave with whom she had five children.

In 1827, she escaped to Canada.

After New York abolished slavery, she returned as a domestic servant and helped with Elijah Pierson's street-corner preaching.

Her name was Sojourner Truth.

In 1843, Sojourner Truth heard "a voice from Heaven" and began spreading "God's truth and plan for salvation."

In Massachusetts, Sojourner worked with abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, and his wife, Anna Murry-Douglass.

In 1838, Anna Murray-Douglass had helped Frederick escape slavery by providing sailors clothing and identification papers.

Anna used their home in Rochester, New York, as a stop for the Underground Railroad, giving food, clean clothes, and a safe place to stay for fugitive slaves headed to Canada.

After the Emancipation Proclamation, Sojourner Truth moved to Washington, D.C., met Lincoln and helped former slaves.

She dictated her biography, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave (1850), stating:

"When I left the house of bondage I left everything behind. I wanted to keep nothing of Egypt on me, and so I went to the Lord and asked him to give me a new name."

Sojourner Truth continued:

"I set up my banner, and then I sing, and then folks always comes up 'round me, and then ... I tells them about Jesus."

Her last full day on earth was NOVEMBER 25, 1883. Sojourner Truth would begin her messages:

"Children, I talk to God and God talks to me."

(Get the book, America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations)

Betsey Stockton was born into slavery around 1798.

Her owner, Ashbel Green, was president of Princeton. He freed her in 1817, and she became a member of the First Presbyterian Church.

While she continued to work for the Green family as a paid domestic help, they taught her to read.

She enthusiastically read through Dr. Green's library, and began to feel a call to become a missionary.

When Betsey Stockton heard that some Princeton students planned to go as missionaries to Hawaii, she asked to go along.

Dr. Green and her Sunday school teacher wrote recommendation letters to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which commissioned her as America's first single woman missionary sent overseas.

On November 22, 1822, she set sail with the missionary team from New Haven, Connecticut, for the five-month voyage.

Settling in Lāhainā on Maui, she helped start the first mission school and served as the teacher.

Years later Betsey Stockton helped found Princeton's First Presbyterian Church of Color, taught at a school in Philadelphia, established a school for Indians at Grape Island, Canada, and taught students of color at Princeton.

Harriet Tubman (c.1820-March 10, 1913) was a former slave who repeatedly risked her life to free over 300 slaves from Southern Democrat slave plantations.

The trails she took became known as the Underground Railroad.

After the Civil War, she helped set up schools for freed slaves.

Harriet Tubman stated:

"I always told God: I'm gwine to hole stiddy on to you, and you got to see me trou ... Jes so long as He wants to use me, He'll tak ker of me, and when He don't want me any longer, I'm ready to go."

To her biographer, Sarah H. Bradford, Harriet Tubman related in 1868:

"'Twant me, 'twas the Lord. I always told him, "I trust to you. I don't know where to go or what to do, but I expect you to lead me," and he always did."