Sojourner Truth

Pencil on paper
52 x 33½ inches
Credit Line:
Collection of Lysiane Luong Grooms and the artist

Using paper much like the cloth squares of a quilt, Grooms has assembled a monumental drawing of a hero of abolition. In photographs Truth sold to raise money for her causes, she presented herself knitting, a typical pose of feminine domesticity. Knitting was also a marketable skill she taught to formerly enslaved women. Born Isabella Baumfree, she began life as a slave in Ulster County, New York. This northern state had passed laws designed to gradually free all persons born into slavery by 1827, but Truth felt called by God to escape in 1826. She became a pioneering abolitionist, successfully suing for her son’s denied freedom. Though a peaceful reformer, she supported the Civil War after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.