Michigan Legal Milestones
6. Sojourner Truth
Her life as a crusader for justice is recalled in the city she called home. Dedicated and placed at the Battle Creek Hall of Justice in 1987. Rededicated inside at the First United Methodist Church in Battle Creek. Placed at the Calhoun County Justice Center in Battle Creek on May 29, 1997.
Complete Text on Milestone Marker
Isabella Hardenbergh was born into slavery in 1797 in Ulster County, New York. Upon gaining her freedom, believing she heard a voice from God, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth, This six-foot tall, gaunt woman with a resounding voice became one of America's most influential crusaders for justice.
At the 1858 Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, she spoke eloquently of women's rights: "I have heard much about the sexes being equal; I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much, too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now…I have heard the Bible and have learned that Eve caused man to sin. Well, if woman upset the world, do give her a chance to set it right-side up again." Her moving words held the historic convention spellbound. Her orations are remembered today and greatly enrich our national heritage.
In 1856 Sojourner Truth moved here to Battle Creek. Throughout her long life, she continued to journey and speak widely for social and legal reforms, including women's suffrage desegregation, and the plight of former slaves. She died in 1883 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Battle Creek.
Of her influential life, she said simply: "The Lord had a plan for me."
Placed by the State Bar of Michigan and the Calhoun County Bar Association, 1987 Rededicated upon the 200th Anniversary Celebration of Sojourner Truth's birth, 1997.