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Tonight’s theme of Mind Touching Mind may reoccur from time to time here at Bookflurries. When we touch a mind such as Madeleine L’Engle’s in her Wrinkle in Time fiction series or in her autobiographical books, we are awed by the writer’s honesty, her willingness to share and her bright spirit. There are many writers who have reached out to us through the ages. We feel as if we know them, personally.
Tonight, I want to briefly explore the life of Sojourner Truth whose mind still touches mine after all these years. Because she spent many years of her life living near and in Battle Creek, Michigan, I will include some photos of this lovely town, also.
Sojourner Truth is still there in the form of a tall statue.
We learn about Sojourner here: (I only quote the Michigan part)
In October of 1856, Sojourner Truth went to Michigan to address the Friends of Human Progress Association. It was there that she spoke about the injustice of slavery and its impact on families. She told the audience about her five children that she loved but lost to slavery. However, Truth believed in God and also believed that all the rights and love that were taken away from slaves in this life would be returned to them in heaven.wiki adds: http://en.wikipedia.org/...
On June 12, 1863, an unidentified newspaper ran a version of one of Truth's speeches from a meeting at the State Sabbath School Convention in Battle Creek, Michigan. Here Truth spoke to the people about race relations and how God made everyone who they are, so it was not fair to degrade others based on their race because it was God who had made them that way. "Does not God love colored children as well as white children? And did not the same Savior die to save the one as well as the other? If so, white children must know that if they go to Heaven, they must go there without their prejudice against color, for in Heaven black and white are one in the love of Jesus."
In June 1881, the state legislature of Michigan was considering a measure to institute capital punishment in the state. Truth addressed the members of the legislature, and a reporter's version was printed in the Battle Creek Nightly Noon Newspaper on June 8, 1881. She spoke about God being against capital punishment, and how He commands us to love one another. She closed by saying "Remember, the things I say to you in this capitol tonight will never die. He who sanctions the crime of hanging will have to answer for it. I believe that God has spared me to do good to this white population, which has done so much good to the black race. How wonderful God turns things." The Wyckoff hanging bill was rejected...
She continued her speeches and preaching until she became ill. She died with her loved ones around her in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Truth sold her home in Northampton in 1857 and bought a house in Harmonia, Michigan, just west of Battle Creek. According to the 1860 census, her household in Harmonia included her daughter, Elizabeth Banks (age 35), and her grandsons James Caldwell (misspelled as "Colvin"; age 16) and Sammy Banks (age 8).Monument Of Abolitionist Sojourner Truth Unveiled In Battle Creek, MI - Brief Article
Truth's carte de visite, which she sold to raise money (see inscription).
During the Civil War, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army. Her grandson, James Caldwell, enlisted in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. In 1864, Truth was employed by the National Freedman's Relief Association in Washington, D.C., where she worked diligently to improve conditions for African-Americans.
In October of that year, she met President Abraham Lincoln. In 1865, while working at the Freedman's Hospital in Washington, Truth rode in the streetcars to help force their desegregation.
Truth wrote a song, "The Valiant Soldiers", for the 1st Michigan Colored Regiment; it was composed during the war and was sung by her in Detroit and Washington, D.C. It is sung to the tune of "John Brown" or the "Battle Hymn of the Republic".
In 1867, Truth moved from Harmonia to Battle Creek. In 1868, she traveled to western New York and visited with Amy Post, and continued traveling all over the East Coast.
Jet, Nov 1, 1999
Abolitionist Sojourner Truth, the first Black woman to become an antislavery speaker, recently was honored when a statue was unveiled at Monument Park in Battle Creek, MI.http://findarticles.com/...
Nearly 3,000 people were on hand for the unveiling ceremony of the 12-foot bronze statue, sculpted by Tina Allen, in Downtown Battle Creek.
My photo of the monument:
Sojourner’s most memorable speech that resonates in me:
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain't I A Woman?
Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio
My other photos of Battle Creek, Michigan:
To show how big the statue is with a human comparison:
A slightly larger view of the Sojourner Statue shown above:
One of the beautiful older churches...The United Methodist:
The plaque on the 1871 Baptist Church where Sojourner gave a speech:
A photo of the Baptist Church church:
The site of Sojourner’s Home:
Other churches on this site:
Grand Trunk Railroad Station on Main:
Other color pics of this beautiful station...scroll down to see the restored waiting room...wow!
The Union Depot has become a notable restaurant called Clara’s on the River.
The depot marker reads:
The Union Depot began passenger service for the Michigan Central and Pere Marquette Railroads in 1902. The Detroit architectural firm of Spier and Rohns, which planned many Michigan Central stations, designed the building with Chateauesque conical towers and cut stone arches. The depot closed in 1972. Restauranteur Peter Jubeck bought the building in 1978 and transformed it into an eatery, retaining the quarter-sawn oak interior and installing locally crafted stained glass windows.(This site has a lot of neat train photos in b&w in Battle Creek)
We have walked along the river from Clara's to the statue for the underground railroad that is also well worth seeing if you visit the area.
Info about the Underground Railroad Monument:
--Text from memorial inscription--
From the 1830's to 1861, thousands of slaves in the southern United States courageously escaped northward to freedom on what became known as the Underground Railroad. Along the secret network, "conductors" like Battle Creek's Erastus and Sara Hussey, whose likenesses are captured in this memorial, took great personal risks to ensure the safety of escaping slaves.My own photos of the monument of the Underground Railroad:
Harriet Tubman, known as the Black Moses, was a national heroine of this epic struggle and is depicted leading another brave family away from the shackles of slavery. This memorial honors the Underground Railroad and is dedicated to the strength of the human spirit in the quest for freedom.
Historians believe as many as 1,500 slaves passed through the city of Battle Creek enroute to Detroit for their ultimate passage to Canada. Designed by sculptor Ed Dwight and built with funds donated by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the 28-foot long, 14-foot high bronze statue reminds us of Battle Creek's importance in the Underground Railroad.
A second view of the statue:
The third view of the statue:
This website has a pic of the Underground Railroad monument that shows the face of Harriet Tubman better than mine does:
There is more about Harriet Tubman at wiki here:
Historical Society website with pics of Battle Creek:
As I visited sites on the net, I found a couple more that I wanted to share.
A site with a list of events in the history of the Civil Rights struggle is here (list begins in 1954, but scroll down and the earlier years are listed from 1783 when Massachusetts outlaws slavery within its borders):
Before you vote in the poll, you might wish to read about Paul Robeson found on wiki here:
(a few of his accomplishements are listed below)
Robeson sang in and was conversant in more than 20 languages, and at one time carried enough clout to be considered for a vice presidential spot on Henry A. Wallace's 1948 Progressive Party ticket.There are so many minds that have touched ours...who are some of your favorites?
Received Law Degree from Columbia, 1923
One of the post-graduate accommodation buildings at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) is named after him.
He won numerous awards from such organizations as the U.S. Treasury Dept. (War Bonds), the NAACP (Spingarn Medal), Broadway (Donaldson award; equivalent to the Tony today).
As a two-time All-American, Robeson is among the greatest college football players of his era and won 15 varsity letters at Rutgers.
Led anti-lynching delegation to President Harry S. Truman, and another delegation to lift the ban on black players in Major League Baseball.
His 1943 Othello was seen by over half a million viewers on Broadway or on tour.
In 1978, the United Nations honored Robeson for speaking out against apartheid in South Africa.
In 1995, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
In 1998, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2004, the United States Postal Service honored Robeson with a stamp in the Black Heritage Series.
sarahnity’s list of DKos authors:
Happy Birthday to anotherdemocrat!
plf515 has a wonderful book diary on Fridays early and all day
pico has Literature for Kossacks on Tuesday evenings...but not until summer. He announces some interesting things coming then in his diary here:
Literature for Kossacks: on hiatus
pico, we wish you very well as you do your dissertation...let us know how it goes!!
Literary Monthly’s dairy here:
The poll cannot cover all the amazing voices so please add your favorites in the comments.