Sojourner Truth, Sacred Activist, continued

Because of her visibility as an abolitionist, President Lincoln invited Sojourner Truth to the White House in October 1864.  While living in Washington, she did a kind of Rosa Parks act and insisted on riding in streetcars that were for whites only, thus protesting segregation. 

Mini-documentary explores Sojourner Truth’s work in the abolitionist and women’s right’s movements during and after the Civil War. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

After the War, she worked hard to find jobs for freed and indigent Black Americans and pleaded with the government to resettle ex-slaves on government land in the West.  To no avail, unfortunately.

Among her teachings are these:

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again!  And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

That little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ‘cause Christ wasn’t a woman!  Where did your Christ come from?  Where did Christ come from?  From God and a woman!  Man had nothing to do with Him.

One-woman show in which Dr. Daisy Century portrays Sojourner Truth. Women’s Rights National Historical Park

Speaking like Douglass who distinguishes between “the Christianity of the land” and “the Christianity of Christ”, she asks: 

What is that religion that sanctions, even by its silence, all that is embraced in the ‘Peculiar  Institution’?  If there can be anything more diametrically opposed to the religion of Jesus, than the work of this soul-killing system—which is as truly sanctioned by the religion of America as are her ministers and churches—we wish to be shown where it can be found.

In 1863 she summarized her fight for racial equality this way: 

The tombstone of Sojourner Truth, Oak Hill Cemetery, Battle Creek, Michigan. Wikimedia Commons.

Children, who made your skin white? Was it not God?  Who made mine black?  Was it not the same God?  Am I to blame therefore, because my skin is black?…..Does God love colored children as well as white children?   

Near the end of her life, she declared this: 

Now, if you want me to get out of the world, you had better get the women voting soon.  I shan’t go till I can do that.

She criticized Douglass for putting equal rights for black men ahead of those of black women and once in discussion with him when he was depressed, she asked him: “Is God Dead?”  Those words are written on her tombstone.

See Charles Burrack, ed., Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality.

And Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

And Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality.

And Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice.

Banner Image: Sojourner Truth (carte de visite, 1864, Wikimedia Commons) and Frederick Douglass (engraving made by J. C. Buttre from a Daguerreotype, 1854, Wikimedia Commons).

Queries for Contemplation

What lessons do you take from Sojourner Truth’s story and actions and teachings here?

Recommended Reading

Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality
Selected with an Introduction by Charles Burack

To encapsulate the life and work of Matthew Fox would be a daunting task for any save his colleague Dr. Charles Burack, who had the full cooperation of his subject. Fox has devoted 50 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality and in doing so has reinvented forms of education and worship.  His more than 40 books, translated into 78 languages, are inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions and have awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West. Essential Writings begins by exploring the influences on Fox’s life and spirituality, then presents selections from all Fox’s major works in 10 sections.
“The critical insights, the creative connections, the centrality of Matthew Fox’s writings and teaching are second to none for the radical renewal of Christianity.” ~~ Richard Rohr, OFM.

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

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2 thoughts on “Sojourner Truth, Sacred Activist, continued”

  1. Avatar

    Wow! We have to be Open in our hearts/Souls/lives to God’s Spirit of LOVE~LIGHT~LIFE~
    Diverse Oneness… in the Sacredness of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….

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