Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) - abolitionist | women's rights activist

National Portrait Gallery, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and advocate for women's rights, prison reform, voting rights, and property rights. She escaped slavery with her infant daughter in 1826 and later went to court to recover her son. She became the first black woman to win this type of case against a white man. Truth recruited black troops for the Union Army during the Civil War. While working for the National Freedman's Relief Association in Washington D.C. in 1864, she met President Lincoln. She rode in streetcars to help force their desegregation, unsuccessfully pursued land grants for formerly enslaved people, and tried to vote but was turned away. Truth traveled widely speaking on abolition and women's suffrage, including her most famous extemporaneous speech referred to as "Ain't I a Woman?" Truth was the first black woman to have a statue in the U.S. Capitol, and she is listed in Smithsonian magazine as one of the "100 Most Significant Americans of All Time." 


"Truth is powerful and it prevails." 

“Religion without humanity is very poor human stuff.”   

"The Lord gave me 'Sojourner,' because I was to travel up an' down the land, showin' the people their sins an' bein' a sign unto them. Afterwards, I told the Lord I wanted another name 'cause everybody else had two names, and the Lord gave me 'Truth,' because I was to declare the truth to people." 


Truth, S. with Gilbert, O. (2020). Narrative of Sojourner Truth. 

Painter, N.I. (1997). Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol. 



Vanessa Lively - Artist Statement

Vanessa Lively is an Austin, TX based songwriter and artist. She began studying under her mentor Vie Dunn-Harr in 1998 in San Antonio, TX. Lively had her first art exhibit in 1999, and continued to show her work around San Antonio for many years. Most recently, Lively has been focused on her musical career, but still actively paints - mostly commissioned work. Lively has been featured recently in Austin Woman Magazine, Spectrum News Austin, The Austin Chronicle, and on Song of the Soul Podcast. 

Austin’s Vanessa Lively is a true multidiscipline artist. She’s a singer, songwriter, musician and painter with a do-it-yourself attitude and a compassionate spirit.” – Mario Tarradell, Dallas Morning News. 

In 2017, Lively received the Artist Activist Award by Music To Life. With this grant, she founded a nonprofit called Home Street Music which holds music circles with people who have experienced homelessness. She is releasing a new album in January of 2022 called Truth Is. 

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"Sojourner Truth"

Women Who Walked on Water

Joy Zimmerman

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Women Who Walked on Water (3:21) – mid-tempo with soulful vocals, rhythmic guitars, and lilting fiddle. A song of tribute to seventeen courageous women who changed the world.

Music & Lyrics by Joy Zimmerman

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