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Glorying in tribulation

the lifework of Sojourner Truth

Erlene Stetson

Publication Year: 1994

In Glorying in Tribulation, Stetson presents a new dimension of Sojourner Truth's character. Much of the information regarding this oft-quoted African American woman is either the stuff of legend or is in dispute. This important new biography takes both legend and fact and sets them into a larger historical context. The authors utilize archival sources, and other forms of direct and indirect evidence to create a better understanding of Truth. We see her victories as well as her defeats--we see her as a real person. Truth comes alive in the pages of this book through her poignant, prophetic words and we realize that what she spoke of in the nineteenth century is just as relevant to us today. 
      Glorying in Tribulation offers students, scholars, and teachers of American history and culture studies a comprehensive look and a new perspective on Truth's contribution to American history. It is a long-overdue, exciting interpretation of the meaning of Sojourner Truth's life.


Published by: Michigan State University Press


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p. vii-vii

List of Illustrations

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p. ix-ix

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p. xi-xi

Our work grew out of a convergence of separate endeavors and we have first of all to thank each other for the sustenance and joy we found in our collaboration. A circle of friends helped the work to grow over a long period and we thank each member of it. The assistance of Jean Phoenix Laurel and Phyllis Guskin was crucial, as was the long-tenn support of Harriet McCombs, coeditor of Sojourner: A Third World Women's Research Newsletter, Elizabeth...

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Chapter 1: Speaking of Shadows

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pp. 1-27

On the first day of October 1865 Sojourner Truth dictated a letter from Washington, D.C. to her friend Amy Post in Rochester, New York...

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Chapter 2: The Country of the Slave

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pp. 29-56

When Sojourner Truth spoke of her ancestors, she spoke in a general way as many African Americans might speak: We came from Mrica. What she allowed her audience, for example in the remarks Harriet Beecher Stowe attributed to her in their 1853 meeting, was the general truth of African American historical experience...

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Chapter 3: The Claims of Human Brotherhood

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pp. 57-86

It was in the social and religious tunnoil and political fennent of New York City in the 1830s that Sojourner Truth matured the responses that made her a powerful antislavery speaker, a radical critic of racial prejudice, including racism in the woman's rights movement, and, in her seventies, a crusader for the resettlement of freed people on government land, not in Liberia, but in the United States that they had helped to build...

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Chapter 4: Sojourners

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pp. 87-128

The woman who boarded the Fulton Street ferry early in the morning on the first day of June 1843 had chosen for herself a name that resonated with the pain of an oppressed people dwelling for many generations in a strange land. Within the Old Testament context the sojourner was the non-Hebrew stranger who lived among the Hebrews. During part of their own history, the Hebrews had lived as sojourners among the Egyptians...

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Chapter 5: I Saw The Wheat Holding Up Its Head

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pp. 129-162

Toward the end of her last year at Oberlin, Frederick Douglass invited Sallie Holley to write for the North Star, which he had launched in 1847 against the bitter opposition of the Garrisonians. In mid-1851 the title of his new venture, Frederick Douglass' Paper, would leave no doubt as to who controlled its editorial viewpoint. Holley refused; by the end of the summer of 1851 Abby Kelley Foster had already recruited her for the...

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Chapter 6: Harvest Time for the Black Man, and Seed-Sowing Time for Woman: Nancy Works in the Cotton Field

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pp. 163-200

When Truth gathered the children around her in Elizabeth Cady Stanton's parlor in mid-May 1867 to hear the newspaper reports of her speeches at the Equal Rights Convention, the woman's rights movement led by white feminists was in painful transition. No woman's rights meetings had been held during the Civil War, while women, as Stanton later wrote, "held their own claims in abeyance to those of the slaves in the South."2 At the end of the Civil War, white feminist reformers who had...

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pp. 203-217

I have arrived safe in Ohio. I got to Buffalo on the evening of the same day I left you. I left Buffalo Friday night and arrived in Cleveland on Saturday. Had a beautiful passage up the lake. Stopped among the colored friends and was treated with great kindness until Tuesday. Attended a meeting and sold three dollars worth of books. And on Tuesday went to ...


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pp. 219-233


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pp. 235-242

E-ISBN-13: 9780870139086
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870133374

Page Count: 242
Publication Year: 1994