In the beginning of the XIX century in the US, the South conglomerate with its agricultural landlords and slave owners and the industrial North Union based on free labor existed as separate economic zones. In general, the US appeared as a federative country with independence of political and economic life of each state. Despite the permanent growth of population and the economic modernization and development, the integration process was too slow.
All of the industrial enterprises were concentrated in the northern states. The main labor force was comprised of immigrants that were coming in an endless flow, working for different businesses. The high level of living and relatively stable demographic situation were the reasons of why the North was prospering.
In the South, the situation was completely opposite. The US during the Mexican-American War, gained great territory in there with a large number of vacant land. It was perfect for huge landholdings and plantations because it was very fertile, and the climate was favorable for agriculture as well. The crops such as tobacco, sugar cane, cotton and rice were grown and collected there. However, the area did not have enough labor force to use because the majority of immigrants moved to the North. Therefore, dating back to the XVII century, the slaves from Africa were imported as cheap labor, and before the beginning of secession, 1/4 of the white population of the South was the slave-owners.
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It is in this world that Isabella was born in the family of James and Elizabeth Baumfri (Truth, 1998). She was one of the ten or twelve children in the family of slaves (Truth, 1998). James Baumfri was a native of Ghana, while Elizabeth was the daughter of slaves from the coast of Guinea (Truth, 1998). Master of the Isabels parents was Colonel Hardenberg, whose land was 95 miles to the north from New York City (Truth, 1998). After his death, the estate was inherited by his son, Charles Hardenberg, and when the latter died in 1806, Isabella was sold from auction (Truth, 1998). The 9-year-old girl was put up for sale together with a small flock of sheep for $100 to John Neely who was extremely violent (Truth, 1998). Truth told later that she was beaten and raped almost every day. In 1808, John Neely sold Isabella to Martinus Shriver from Port Ewen for $105, who in 18 months, resold her to John Dumont of West Park for $175 (Truth, 1998). The last one was a relatively good person; however, his wife more than compensated for this kindness. In 1815, Isabella met a slave named Robert from a nearby farm and soon, they began an affair (Truth, 1998). The mans owner did not accept their relations as he understood that the children would belong to Isabellas owners. As a result, Robert was beaten and, later, died from these injuries. In 1817, the owner made Truth marry another slave, Thomas (Truth, 1998). New husband was older than Isabella which, however, did not prevent a woman from giving birth to his three children (Truth, 1998).
Back in 1799, in the state of New York, the discussion concerning the Emancipation Proclamation was started (Randall & Donald, 1969). However, it ended only in 1827 (Randall & Donald, 1969). A year before, Isabella Dumont was promised to be freed in exchange for good and loyal service (Randall & Donald, 1969). Nevertheless, this promise was never kept. Her owner, later, would say that after Isabellas hand had been injured, she started to work much worse. These statements made Truth pretty angry, and for a while, she continued to work diligently, but at the end of 1826, the woman fled with her daughter whose father was her owner (Randall & Donald, 1969). Other children had to be left with the landlord since according to the law they had to work for the Dumont until the age of 20 (Randall & Donald, 1969).
Isabella lived in very hard and tumultuous times. Despite the fact that the industrial North needed the raw materials from the South, and agricultural South needed the machines produced in the northern states to process the collected materials, the conflict arose in the United States. There were a lot of issues that had led to the clashes. The first one was connected with the taxes on imported goods. The North tried to protect its industry by charging high taxes on foreign production which was unacceptable for South that wanted to trade freely (Randall & Donald, 1969). The second problem was slavery due to the misunderstandings with regard to the legal activity between free states and those of slave-owners (Randall & Donald, 1969). There were also issues connected with the position concerning slavery in new states. The United States colonized the new territories, and there were discussions about the future alignment of each of them (Randall & Donald, 1969). For African-American slaves, these events were ambiguous. On the one hand, they were free from slavery in the states in the north. On the other hand, no one was going to let them leave the South. It is not surprising that this situation made them look for the ways to escape from that part of the USA. However, in 1850, a law was passed to pursue slaves in free states (Randall & Donald, 1969). That, in turn, forced many of the, to run further to Canada or to the Indian territory. As a result, a significant portion of the Seminole tribe consisted of the children of Indian and African-American origin (Randall & Donald, 1969).
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Political and social organizations that opposed slavery were formed in 1854 by the Republican Party (Randall & Donald, 1969). The victory in the presidential elections in 1860 of Abraham Lincoln, the candidate from the mentioned above political force, became a signal of danger to slave owners and led to their secession and the exit from the Union (Randall & Donald, 1969). Each state elected representatives to the constitutional state council who voted for or against secession, and the results of voting were published in a document called Decision on Secession (Randall & Donald, 1969). On December 20, 1860, South Carolina was the first state to declare this decision , and this was the beginning of the war (Randall & Donald, 1969). The Confederates had the international support of the European countries such as Britain and France that had their own interests in the young new nation (Randall & Donald, 1969). The North also had help that was provided by the Russian Empire, which was looking for allies after the defeat in the Russian-Turkish War (Randall & Donald, 1969). Furthermore, experienced soldiers who had gone through the cruel war with Mexico fought for the South with weapons and artillery sent to these states. The North, on the contrary, had an advantage with regard to human resources and industrial facilities. Therefore, in the early stages, its army suffered from defeats and territory loss. However, after the law on the abolition of slavery and conscription of Afro-Americans into the army, the situation completely changed (McPherson, 2014). The North began to win and to push the enemy away capturing new territories.
By the beginning of the Civil War, Isabella had already been baptized and given the name of Sojourner Truth (Truth, 1864). She lived in the house of Isaac and Maria Van Wagener, who helped her to file a lawsuit, and after several months of legal proceedings, to free her son from slavery (Truth, 1864). This was a prominent moment as Truth became the first black woman who won a court case against a white man.
In the years of the war, she was helping the army of the North enlisting the former slaves into the military forces and playing the role of ideologue. By that time, she was not just a leader of the former slaves, but the inspirator of the movement for women's rights. Moreover, her speech "Ain't I a Woman?" became rather well-known, and as a result, she was introduced to Abraham Lincoln (Truth, 1864). For all Afro-Americans, the period of Civil War was a time of hope and the first step to a free future.
The victory of the North's changed the course of the world history. However, the results of this armed conflict were devastating with hundreds of thousands people killed and infrastructure of the South destroyed. To integrate the subordinate territories, the US government began the program of reconstruction. The scheme was first discussed during the war, but it was started only after the issuance of Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 (Randall & Donald, 1969). President Abraham Lincoln created a government of reconstruction in several southern states and gave the land to former slaves in South Carolina (Randall & Donald, 1969). However, after his death, the Reconstruction program underwent significant changes. Slavery was abolished, but there was no work done for assimilation of former slaves into the US society. The result of this mistake was that racist secret societies brutally suppressed Afro-Americans. The apogee of these activities was when the Ku Klux Klan was formed as a response to the appearance of the representatives of the Afro-American community in the Congress and Jim Crow laws (Hyman, 1973). Such racial segregation in the south lasted until 1964 when after the consideration of the case Heart of Atlanta Motel v. the United States in Georgia, the discrimination in public places was banned (Hyman, 1973).
For Isabel, this period was the one of political activity. She even tried to stand for the US Presidency. However, most of her achievements were only a catalyst for the future US system reformation. For instance, she proposed an idea of the modification of the prison system.
To sum up, it should be mentioned that Isabella should be considered as the mother of Afro-American freedom. It was she who marked the beginning of racial and gender equality. She lived in a difficult time suffering from the violence, oppression, slavery, and she survived. She became a beacon for the heroes who fought for equality and democracy.