Local Learning Resources on The Underground Railroad
Sojourner Truth: Connecting Local Places with National History
The David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History & Underground Railroad in Florence, MA, features The Ross Homestead which is on both the National Register of Historic Places and the National Park Services Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The center offers walking tours of Florence including the African-American history trail, Sojourner Truth’s house, and other abolitionist sites. Additionally, there is a memorial statue of Sojourner Truth in Florence, MA, to honor her life and work. A former slave, abolitionist and social activist, Truth lived in Florence from 1843-1856. The Sojourner Truth Memorial organization offers a free map on their website of a self-guided walking tour of Sojourner’s house and historic sites. Read more in our post, Sojourner Truth Memorial: American and Western MA History.
Delivered in 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech demands equality, asking to be seen as a full member of society, as a woman that deserves the same respect offered to white women. It’s a compelling speech that repeatedly asks “Ain’t I a Woman?” confronting the listener with the alarming injustice of which Truth speaks.
While there is no official transcription of this speech, watch actress Kerry Washington reading Sojourner Truth’s speech and experience the power of voice in her dramatic recreation of Truth’s incredible proclamation “Ain’t I a Woman?”