Resurfaced documents reveal Sojourner Truth fought to free her son from slavery and she was ultimately successful in the pursuit.
According to CNN, New York State Archives found a court doc from 1828 against Truth’s former owner and the Albany Supreme Court, which was asking to free her youngest son, Peter. Sojourner Truth, who was born Isabella Baumfree in 1797 on the Hardenbergh plantation in upstate New York, managed to escape to freedom in 1826. Peter was an indentured servant to a white man in New York but was illegally sold to the owner's son-in-law in Alabama.
Truth’s lawsuit was successful. According to court docs, the Alabama owner was prosecuted for kidnapping and returned to Peter to avoid indictment. Sadly, when he arrived to his mother, he was beaten and severely abused. However, the court ordered that Peter be freed from slavery.
CNN reports this marked the first time a Black woman successfully sued a white man for a family member's freedom.
Sojourner Truth was an advocate for enslaved Black people and women and is best known for her "Ain't I a Woman?" speech that challenged gender and racial inequalities. During the Civil War, Truth became involved in the war effort by recruiting Black troops for the Union Army. After the war, she tried unsuccessfully to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves.
Sojourner Truth died in 1883.