Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Jacqueline Bernard tells the story of Sojourner Truth’s life in Journey Toward Freedom: The Story of Sojourner Truth. This traditional birth-to-death biography is organized chronologically. The book is divided into two parts that correspond to the stages of Truth’s life, though Bernard does not mark these sections.

In chapters 1 through 15, the first section, Bernard tells of how Truth rose from slavery. Truth was born a slave in 1797, in Ulster County, New York. Her master named her Belle. Some of the people who owned Truth were relatively kind, while others were cruel. She obtained her freedom in 1827, fought for and obtained the return of her son Peter after he had been taken to the South, moved to New York City in 1829, lost contact with Peter after he had worked at sea on sailing ships for two years, and worked as a maid until 1843.

In chapters 16 through 31, the second section, Bernard tells of how Truth became a famous social activist. On June 1, 1843, when Truth was about forty-six years of age, she heard God tell her to leave New York City. She walked away from the home of her employer, Mrs. Whiting, changed her name to Sojourner Truth, and began to make her living as an itinerant preacher at meetings. She soon began to speak against slavery and became a leader among abolitionists. Later, she also became an advocate of women’s rights. Because of her reputation, Truth met many other leaders in these two movements. She...

(The entire section is 413 words.)