I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance

unidentified_photographer_182_2003

Unidentified Photographer, I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance. Sojourner Truth, 1864 (182.2003)

unidentified_photographer_2007_113_1

Unidentified Photographer, I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance. Sojourner Truth, 1864 (2007.113.1)

baker_n_b_2006_16_7

Noel B. Baker, I sell the Shadow to Support the Substance. Sojourner Truth, 1864 (2006.16.7)

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), born Isabella Baumfree to a family of slaves in Ulster County, New York, escaped with her daughter in 1826, a year before New York state’s emancipation. After living in a commune, she converted to Christianity, changed her name in 1843, and became an itinerant preacher. The publication of the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, recorded in 1850 by her friend Olive Gilbert, and “Sojourner Truth: The Libyan Sibyl,” written by Harriet Beecher Stowe for the Atlantic Monthly in 1863, raised Truth’s national profile. She toured with abolitionists Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison and earned money from these speaking engagements as well as from the sale of images. As demonstrated by the inclusion of text on her cartes-de-visite, Truth actively controlled the dissemination of her image as a proper, educated, middle-class woman to support herself and her activist work. An ardent feminist, Truth often had herself represented proudly engaged in “women’s work,” such as knitting.

About these ads

About erinbarnett

Assistant Curator, Collections at the International Center of Photography, New York
This entry was posted in Fans in a Flashbulb and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance

  1. Carl Todd says:

    It’s good to see the faces and history that made the lives of so many more respected and humane.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s