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Ulster County honoring Sojourner Truth

Feb 04, 2022 5:25 am

Paul Kirby reports in the Daily Freeman the Ulster County Surrogate Court inside the Ulster County Building begins hosting an exhibit featuring important documents from the life of abolitionist Sojourner Truth on Feb. 4. Truth was born a slave as Isabella Baumfree in Ulster County in 1797 and escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. Under her new name, she campaigned to eliminate slavery in America, and helped recruit black troops for the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war she campaigned for African-American rights in the land of the Klu Klux Klan. The exhibit in Ulster County contains two competing newspaper accounts of Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman” speech as well as a handbill advertising her speaking engagements, and some of her own probate documents. “A few months after I took office in 2017, I learned that our County archives contain a bond filed in Sojourner Truth’s 1828 lawsuit to win her son’s freedom, a proceeding Truth brought only two years after she was emancipated from slavery,” Ulster County Surrogate Judge Sara McGinty said in a statement. “Then I learned that the County also has a Surrogate’s Court document dating back to 1810 which lists Sojourner Truth as an asset of the estate of her deceased owner. The document, which I’ve seen several times, is an Inventory of Assets — a form of report still employed in Surrogate’s Court,” McGinty wrote. “Truth is described as ‘Negro wench Isabella.’ She is valued at $100. At the time she was about 8 years old. The exhibit is open to the public each Friday to anyone who makes reservations at nshultis@nycourts.gov.Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.