During Black History Month we acknowledge and celebrate the leaders, activists, and change makers who continue to inspire the work we do. In 2021, New Paltz Students declared November 26th Sojourner Truth Day in Ulster County. Youth leaders at the YMCA Youth Crew in Kingston, Briana Gary and Anayathsyn Castiillo, have been working for over a year to commemorate a day of remembrance for abolitionist and suffragist Sojourner Truth who was born in Kingston, New York in 1797.
The students’ interest in who Sojourner Truth was, was piqued after reading about her in Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds’ “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix."
Truth became the first Black woman to win a lawsuit against a white man when she took John Ignatius Dumont, a farmer from what is now the town of Esopus, to court for illegally selling her five-year-old-son to an Alabama slave owner.
Gary and Castillo are also collaborating on a project to replace outdated language about Sojourner Truth on a plaque outside of the Ulster County Courthouse, where Truth fought for her son to be freed from slavery in 1828. To learn more about Sojourner Truth, view this short biography.