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Meet Sojourner Truth - Women's History Month

Celebrate Women's History Month with HVP

womens history month, hiking trails, sojourner truth

The Hudson Valley is so rich in history that you don't have to go far to travel back in time. Since March is Women's History Month, why not clean off your hiking boots, dust off your bike seats or polish up a saddle and get on the trail this spring to teach your children about some women who, through their grit and hard work, won a place in history?

Celebrate Women's History Month with stories of 2 other women in the Hudson Valley:

Sojourner's journey
Sojourner Truth started life under the name Isabella and several different masters before she walked out on her slaveowner at age 29. She became a free woman-and eventually an evangelist, abolitionist and women's rights activist, and even met with President Lincoln.

Sojourner Truth fled from her master in Esopus and made her way to New Paltz.

How did she feel back in 1826 when she fled from her master in Esopus, New York, with a baby under her arm to start a new life? We can be pretty sure she was angry. She left because her master had reneged on his promise to free her. She certainly felt frightened-she would face serious trouble if she were caught. And she must have felt tormented-she left without three of her children. One, a five-year-old named Peter, was sold illegally to a slaveholder in Alabama. Sojourner showed her strength once again when she sued for his return. She became the first black woman to win a court case against a white man.

Walking a mile in her shoes could be informative, but keeping pace with Sojourner wouldn't have been easy. She is said to have been 6 feet tall. What's more, she started her journey an hour before sunrise. Try traveling at night if you dare. She found her way to New Paltz, where a landowner and his wife took her and her baby in, paying off her owner and allowing her to live with them until New York State's emancipation took effect, about six months later.

Follow the trail of Sojourner Truth.

The Sojourner Truth Freedom Trail begins in West Park, at the corner of Floyd Ackert Road and Route 9W. It proceeds to Poppletown Road. The final road in the Freedom Trail network is Van Wagner Road, named for the family who took her in and purchased her freedom. On Route 213 there is a stop at the Sojourner Truth historical marker on the right side of the road by the water.

3 books about Sojourner Truth to read with your kids

Gloria Smith is a freelance writer, contributing articles on a wide range of subjects from health to history and real estate.