Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol

People have asked Nell Irvin Painter, the author of Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol, how she could write a biography about someone who was not able to write herself, who did not leave copious records in the form of diaries and letters.  Indeed, it did take more ingenuity to find data about this elusive woman, but Painter did it beautifully, drawing on multiple sources to learn about who Sojourner Truth really was.  The title contains the theme of the book, which focuses on Truth’s actual life, as well as covering what she symbolized to many others when her legend took on a personality of its own, diverging from the truth about Truth.

***We think everyone should read the Ask a Suffragist book series, but the first book in the series, America’s First Feminists, will not be available in bookstores until Spring 2019.  In the meantime, we’re sharing recommendations of our other favorite memoirs, biographies, history books and fiction by or about suffragists to get you in the mood for the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment. Happy reading!

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April Young Bennett

April Young Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series, host of the Religious Feminism Podcast and a writer for the Exponent II. For more information about April, see

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1 Response

  1. ElleK says:

    I’ve heard of Sojourner Truth, but I know basically nothing about her. Thanks for the recommendation!

Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol