In the nineteenth century, this tall, dark-skinned, charismatic, illiterate wisewoman who dressed like a Quaker was best known as a Methodist-style itinerant preacher and religiously inspired supporter of women's rights and the abolition of slavery. A familiar figure in reform circles, she also advocated temperance and associated with spiritualists and water-cure enthusiasts. In her own day she presented herself as the quintessential slave woman. In modern times she has come to stand for the conjunction of race, class, and gender in American liberal reform and symbolizes the unintimidated, articulate black woman. Acutely intelligent although totally unschooled, Truth represents a type of inspired, naive witness that has long appealed to Americans suspicious of over-education.
Nell Irvin Painter, "Truth, Sojourner," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00706.html.