Sojourner Truth


"I sell the shadow to support the substance"

The portrait for the carte-de-visite of Sojourner Truth, the African-American abolitionist and women’s rights advocate, was taken in Battle Creek, Mich., in the 1860s. She wears an elegant silk dress and shawl. With one hand resting on her hip, the other on the arm of the chair, her pose is majestic and determined. She stares resolutely into the camera.

But it is the object in her lap that remains one of the image’s most revelatory details: an open daguerreotype of her grandson James Caldwell, a soldier during the Civil War.

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