Truth's Rightful Place on the Hill

Slavery's towering figure at last gets a historic bust in the Capitol.


She never learned to read or write, and the only known example of her signature seems to spell "Sonnog."

The only photographs are of her in old age, high cheekbones and strong features, her tight curls covered in a white bonnet. Isabella Baumfree -- she didn't call herself Sojourner Truth until she was 46 -- stood more than 6 feet tall. In pictures, she always seems to have a gaze that makes you want to stand up straighter.

Yesterday, 126 years after the fierce advocate who railed against slavery and for women's rights died in Battle Creek, Mich., she became the first African American woman to be memorialized with a bust in the U.S. Capitol. The ceremony to unveil the likeness was headed by a female secretary of state (Hillary Clinton), a female speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi) and, needing no introduction, Michelle Obama.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM