The Third Annual Sojourner Truth Life Walk, which traced key moments of the legendary abolitionist, women’s rights champion and Ulster County native, took place on Saturday in conjunction with Black History Month. Subfreezing temperatures, snow squalls and wind did not deter about 40 people from making the walk. Stops along the way from Port Ewen to Kingston included the Jug Tavern at the intersection of River Road and U.S. Route 9W. At 11 years old Sojourner was enslaved to tavern owner Martinus Schryver until she was 13. The walkers then proceeded to the town’s statue of Truth, which was dedicated in 2013. Aleshanee Emanuel of Kingston designed a special T-shirt for this event and spoke how the statue depicts Truth as an enslaved child at work. The walkers then continued over the John T. Loughlin Bridge into Kingston, making stops at the African Burial Ground, St. James Methodist Church and the UIster County Courthouse, where in 1828 Truth won her son’s freedom after he had been sold into slavery. The walk concluded at the Old Dutch Church where activities were planned, including a reenactment of Truth’s 1851 speech, “Ain’t I A Woman”.
It was announced earlier by Ulster County that starting this year, November 26 will officially be recognized as Sojourner Truth Day. This was the day Truth died in 1883.