Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sojourner Truth

(1797- 1883)
by Molly MacGregor
   Do you feel afraid when people yell at you? Do You get angry when people are mean to you? This story is about a woman who was u slave.People were often very mean to her. Because she was a slave no one could help her, not even her parents. She could be bought or sold, just like a farm animal. This story is about how she became a free person.Most importantly, it is about what she did as a free person.

  When she was born she was named Isabella Bomefree. Everybody Called her Belle. When she was a little girl, she had to work taking care of the cows and sheep and carrying a lot of heavy firewood. The winter's where she lived were very cold. Belle had nothing to wear but a thin,shabby dress and a pair of worn out shoes. Her Owner beat her fiercely if she didn't work hard enough or fast enough. Wouldn't that be awful?

  To make her feel better, her mother sang African songs to her.These songs were about the place they had come from and a time when her family had not been slaves. When Belle Was sad or lonely, she sang these to herself. The songs made her feel stronger. They made her feel almost like her mother was there to help her.

    One day, the slave owner died. Belle's family had no rights. They Could all be sold to different people. Everyone was afraid because they did not know what might happen to them. Then the news came. Her Mother and father were to be given their freedom, but Belle was to be sold. She was only 9 years old!

Belle was so afraid. She was afraid she would never get to see her mother and father again. She was sold from the auction block for $100
and a flock of sheep. There wasn't anything her parents could do to protect her. They were powerless and terribly sad.

   When Belle was grown, she married another slave whose name wasTom. She had children of her own. Two of her little girls were sold away from her as slaves. Belle knew just how terrible her own parents had felt when she was sold. With the help of some white friends she was finally able to keep two of her own children with her.

   When Belle was 30 years old, the state she lived in passed a new law. The law said that nobody who lived in the state could own slaves.Nobody! Belle was a free woman at last! She still had to earn a living,but nobody else owned her.

   As Belle grew older, she knew that being free was not enough. She Remembered how powerless her mother and father had felt. She Remembered not being able to protect her own children. She decided that because she was free she could now do the work she wanted to do. Shewould help free the Black people who were still slaves. She would encourage people to take action and not be afraid to speak out for fairness. She would encourage people to feel powerful, not helpless.

      For her new life she chose a new name, SoJourner Truth. She picked
"Sojourner" because it meant traveler, and "Truth" because she wanted always to tell the truth. Now she was going to travel and tell the truth about slavery and about laws that weren't fair.

   Many white people did not know how awful it was to be a slave.Sojourner traveled all over the East telling her story of great sadness and suffering. She stood six feet tall and spoke with a booming voice. She Was an excellent speaker. People traveled many miles to hear what she  had to say. They told her she should write a book about being a slave.
Sojourner decided to do just that. She was sure that once white people knew how terrible it was to be a slave, they would change the laws.

Things did start to change, but some people still wanted to own slaves. Slave owners in the South went to war rather than change the laws. When the war was over, new laws were passed that said nobody in our country could own slaves. At last, Black people in every single state were free! Freedom was very important, but Black people found that they were still not treated fairly. Jobs were not easy to get. They were paid little money for the work they did. They wanted to be treated like free people.

Sojourner continued to speak out to encourage people to work to make all of the laws more Fair. She did this with her actions as well as with her words. Once, when she was riding a streetcar to go across town, the conductor told her to get off the Street car. "I don't allow Black
people to ride When I'm the conductor!" he said. Sojourner refused to get off. "I have a right to ride this street car. It is the law and I am not getting off," she said. The conductor was so angry that he shoved and pushed Sojourner. Her shoulder was hurt badly and she had to go to the hospital. After a doctor had taken care of her, she told the police what had happened. The conductor who had broken the law lost his job.Sojourner wanted the streetcar conductor and everybody else to know that Black people had the right to ride on streetcars, just like other free people in this country.

Sojourner Truth spent many, many years of her life working to make the United States a fairer place for all people to live. She helped people no matter what color their skin was or whether they were women or men. Many people today are still working for fairness, too. I think they would like to know this story about Sojourner Truth, don't you?

Sojourner Truth (1797 - 1883), a former slave, who courageously worked against slavery. She travelled throughout the country speaking for equal protection under the law for all people.
Prepare the name plates coloring pages. Before beginning the story, place the nameplate "Belle" on the flannel board. While reading the biography to the children, place the appropriate figures on the board at the underlined points in the story, matching their number in the left margin with the number on the figure.
Recall Questions:
1. What happened when Belle's slave owner died?
2. How did Belle become a free woman?
3. What new name did Belle choose for herself? Why?
Discussion Questions:
1. How did white people learn what it was like to be a slave?
2. Ask students if they think it was hard for Sojourner Truth to change her life, travelling to tell people about slavery and unfair laws? Why?
1. Have the students retell the story in their own words. While the children are talking, point to appropriate coloring pages
2. Reproduce the coloring page figure of Sojourner as an adult for each child to color. The children's completed pictures can be made. into a mural to which vocabulary words can be added later.
3. Write vocabulary v.urds on colored strips of paper. Discuss the meaning of the words: "SLAVE,""OWNER," "AUCTION BLOCK," "FREEDOM," and "SPEAKER." Intersperse the words with the children's colored pictures. If a more diverse mural is desired, have children color copies of other coloring page figures to add. Vocabulary words can be placed near the appropriate figures on the mural.
4. Have students color a copy of the coloring page of Sojourner Truth when she was an older woman. Provide each with a popsicle stick to pare to the back of the picture, to make a puppet using the newly constructed puppets, have the students pretend they are Sojourner Truth. Have them give a very brief speech about the things Sojourner Truth felt were important for people to know.


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