Posted by: scintillatingspeck | February 18, 2014

We walk with Sojourner.

Today Lily and I walked through the falling snow to visit Sojourner Truth (or rather, her statue, which stands near the corner of Park Street and Pine Street in Florence, Massachusetts, about a 15-minute walk from our house).

Lily with Sojourner Truth

We talked about slavery and freedom, and how extremely brave Sojourner was.

MAMA: I like that she chose the name Sojourner Truth.  She was a traveler and a truth-teller.  She knew it was important to speak out, to say that no person deserved to be treated as less than anybody else.  She knew it was worth any risk.  She did that for all of us.  She did that for you and me.
LILY: Don’t cry, Mama.
MAMA: It’s okay.  I’m just grateful.  I’m grateful for every truth-teller.

Lily read the plaque out loud to me:

Sojourner Truth plaque

“Sojourner Truth was born a slave named Isabella in upstate New York in 1797.  She worked for a series of five masters while raising five children.  When slavery ended in New York State in 1827, she settled in New York City.  A deeply religious woman, Isabella took the name Sojourner Truth when God spoke to her.  She was 46 years old when she set out walking and preaching through Long Island and Connecticut.  Eventually she reached Massachusetts and joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry.
“From her home here in what is now Florence, Truth broadened her mission and began speaking out for the abolition of slavery and for women’s rights.”

I explained that the Northampton Association of Education and Industry was an intentional community that was located right here, where we live, in the 19th century, and that its members had even farmed the same land that we had worked so hard to turn into a community farm through Grow Food Northampton.  (Lily was a direct witness to that work and has a tangible connection to the land, through the Florence Organic Community Garden, Crimson & Clover Farm, and The Farm Education Collaborative.)

We walked up Park Street and I pointed out the house where Sojourner had lived.

LILY: It must be a very old house.
MAMA: Yes.
LILY: That’s sad that she’s not alive anymore.
MAMA: I think she had a good, long life.
LILY: Did she live to be 100 like great-grandma Carolyn?
MAMA: I don’t think so.  But that’s pretty rare, for people to live to 100.  Humans can only live so long.  The important thing is to make the most of whatever life you have.  And Sojourner did that.  And we’re doing it too.
LILY: I like walking with you.
MAMA: I like it too, my love.

Here in this village, we walk with the ghosts of courage and radical love.



  1. Reblogged this on There Are So Many Things Wrong With This and commented:

  2. brava, jen, lily and sojourner! ❤

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