“You been having our rights so long, that you think, like a slave-holder, that you own us. I know it is hard for one who had held the reins for so long to give up; it cuts like a knife. It will feel all the better when it closes up again.”—-Sojourner Truth to group of white men on women’s rights
The Name Sojourners Land
This project is inspired by Sojourner Truth who searched for land and community the whole of her adult emancipated life. She worked for women, children and previously enslaved people of African decent. A transient black preacher woman who had sued for her freedom and won, queer and feminist before the words, Sojourner Truth spread liberation thought and activism in her lifetime and into the present. She showed that unthreatened connection to the land was essential for previously enslaved people to learn how to be free. There needed to be a place for survivors to heal and become self-supporting rather than be dependent on the government for survival. But national expansion with “manifest destiny” mentality gave support to railroad companies and white settlers’ claim on the land, disregarding relationships of indigenous peoples and the liberation needs of black people.
Reservations and city slums separated the people from the earth’s abundance and from possibilities of improving life circumstances for generations to come.
Now more than a century after her death, Sojourners Land materializes with gratitude and thanks to the vision, life work and spirit of Sojourner Truth.
Plural rather than possessive, the “s” at the end Sojourners keeps with justice, land, and liberty for all.