Sojourner’s Truth

He said he’d set me free in a year if I worked hard. I did my best, I was so hopeful that me and my family would have a better future. When the time came, I reminded him of his promise. But the man had changed his mind. Back then I didn’t know that slavery was due to be abolished in New York when that time was up. Really he had no choice. 

Now it had been postponed and he, my slave master, had no intentions of letting us go when it was unnecessary. He was a cruel and self-centred man.  I remember the day I heard that news. The anger, disappointment and frustration that had been growing in me for so long reached its climax. I took my daughter and fled that place forever. 

We sought refuge with a family who abhorred slavery, me and my daughter were safe with them. Especially when they bought us for twenty dollars and gave us our freedoms. Of course I was happy, but I couldn’t help thinking of my fellow slaves, my many children, all of whom I knew were still toiling in the fields and bearing the lashes of the all too frequent whip. 

Slavery was abolished in our home state of New York soon after, to my absolute joy and relief. But when I tried to reunite with my son, I found out that he had been sold to someone in Alabama. That was against the law. Again, I felt that same strength inside me, fuelled by my grief and outrage. 

I was black and I was a woman, even though I was free, my rights were still little or nothing. What chance did I have of getting my son back? I didn’t know, but I had to try. I went to court, believe it or not. And I stood, in front of a crowd of all white men, and I stated my case. I was brave and it paid off. I won and my son came home to me. 

You may think I would be content with that, but no. I couldn’t bear the thought of all those slaves who were still under the power of their mean and heartless masters. The thought of the sickening stench of sweat and blood that I could still smell when I lay awake at night. When I closed my eyes I could see the straining muscles and pained expressions, hear the desperate cries resounding in my ears.

I didn’t know what I could do, but I knew that I had to do something. One day I just left my home and began walking. I changed my name to Sojourner Truth. A sojourner is a person who stays in one place for a short time, before moving on. A journeyer, a wanderer, a traveller.  I was searching for the truth. I was open, I learned as I went. I spoke, but most importantly, I listened. 

I walked the length and breadth of America, telling people about the plight of us slaves, about how skin colour doesn’t matter, how we feel things the same as anyone else, we are smart and brave and loving and loyal too. I told them about equality between humans, black and white, male and female. 

People got to hear of me I guess. I was known throughout the nation as a civil rights activist. I never really set out to be one, I was just a woman with faith and a message to share with others. I was some’s heroine and other’s enemy. But I didn’t care, I knew what I believed and I stood up for it.

I dedicated my life to the abolition of slavery in the U.S. Met Abraham Lincoln and told him the story of my life, played a part in recruiting troops to fight in the civil war to free my brothers and sisters who still suffered at the hands of their masters. I did everything in my power to wipe slavery off the earth.

That was the true story (retold by me) of a black slave woman named Isabella Baumfree, who became Sojourner Truth, a celebrated and admired civil rights activist, author of the famous and emotive speech ‘Ain’t I A Woman?’ which you can watch below.

What do you think Sojourner would think of the world how it is today? Does she inspire you like she inspires me? What emotions does the video provoke in you? Do you have any questions? Please let me know how you feel about this post as I really value all your opinions and ideas.  Comment discussions always welcome! 

 

 

 

Day 39 – My Very Own Clay Pipe


My Find!

My Find!

GRACIE

Evan, Irys and I went off to build a den in the woods. We snuck along the towpath and found a way in.

We came across a stream which we had to follow for a while until it was shallow and narrow enough to cross. Then Ev and Irys jumped and I pole vaulted it.

Deep in the forest Evan began to build a shelter. He collected leaves and logs and lots of other natural materials. Meanwhile, Irys was trying to build a bridge out of sticks and mud.   I decided to try and forage some food. Evan spotted a puff ball, which unfortunately was not the edible type, but we added it to our emergency store.

I got some nettle leaves that I snacked on as I dug. What was I digging for? Worms! I pretended they were wiggidy grubs, one has got to use their imagination sometimes.

Whilst rooting around in the rich soil, my stick struck something hard. I pulled it out and cleaned it with my hand. It was not a stone and it was an unusual shape, a small cup with a long thin stem. Both the stem and the cup were hollow, but the stem was snapped.

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I studied it closely, it looked a bit like a smoking pipe. It was made of pottery and had a black smear on one side of the cup. I thought it was a burn mark. I put it to one side, not overly excited, then resumed my search for grubs.

When I returned home I showed it to dad, he said that I’d found the bowl and part of the stem of a Victorian clay pipe. I was amazed. I did some research and found out all of this info about clay pipes.

Clay Pipes

Clay pipes originated from the Native American tribes. When the first English pioneers went over to colonise America, they soon got into smoking these long, delicate pipes.

They took the pipes back to Europe and the craze soon spread. At first the bowls of the pipes were small and short, because tobacco was so rare and expensive. As smoking became more popular, the size of the bowls grew and the demand for tobacco got stronger.

The size of the bowl helps archaeologists find out how old the pipe is. The smaller the older.

In the 1640s the pipes had flat heels ( the little stubs at the base of the bowl). They had these up until the 1690s, then the flat heels were replaced by longer, pointier ones. Mine is an older one because the heel is completely flat.

Fact: It is very rare to find the bowl of a clay pipe so I was very lucky, but it is even rarer to find a complete pipe.

Did you know that many potters became clay pipe makers after Sir Walter Raleigh and other mariners returned from America,  bringing smoking with them?

The burn mark

The burn mark

To learn more about the history of clay pipes visit this website that I found really helpful and informative:

http://www.dawnmist.org/gallery.htm

I am not quite sure how old my pipe is or who would have smoked it, but I would be really interested to find out. Does anyone happen to have any useful knowledge regarding clay pipes or Victorian archeology? If so, please leave a comment.

Taking Clairie To London

Yesterday we took Clairie, a young girl from Germany who is doing a bit of work experience at the campsite/farm where we live, into London to see all the sights.  It is her first time in the UK, so we made sure that she saw all the things that are unique to our capital city. We explained to her about British history, from Queen Boadicea of the Iceni tribe to Guy Fawkes and from KIng Henry 8th’s many wives to the legend about the ravens at the Tower.

“Sorry, can’t smile”

The marching band

The marching band

Changing Of The Guard

Changing Of The Guard

First stop was Buckingham Palace to see the Changing Of The Guard.  This is a major tradition so Clairie had to see it.  The Busbies looked so smart in their uniform, it must be really hard to stay still and not smile all day while people are staring at you and snapping away with their cameras.

Wigeon ducks in the park

Wigeon ducks in the park

After Buckingham Palace we walked through St. James park.  Clairie and I took loads of photos of all the different breeds of birds, including wigeon ducks, black swans, mallards and even white pelicans.

Me, Evan and Irys with a member of the Household Cavalry.

Me, Evan and Irys with a member of the Household Cavalry.

We visited the Household Cavalry and had our picture taken with one of the horsemen.  Just like the Busbies, he couldn’t smile!!!

Big Ben

Big Ben

Clairie is taking photos

Clairie taking photos

We visited Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament too.  Clairie is really into photography, so she took lots of amazing shots.  Big Ben is stunning, I love all the gold leaf and the sheer height of it is incredible. The Houses of Parliament are also lovely, they’re rather posh and very beautiful.

We walked along the Embankment on river Thames. We saw the London Eye.

We walked along the Embankment on river Thames. We saw the London Eye.

Clairie and I had our pictures taken in one of London’s classic, red telephone boxes.

“Say cheese”

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My turn!!!

Next up is a little trip on the underground, it was a little busy so we had to stand. A London experience just isn’t complete without an underground journey.

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” Tower bridge and The Tower Of London, here we come!!!”

Such a cool photo of The Shard behind a bush. It looks like it's just exploded!!! BOOOM, BAAAM and BOOOOSH.

Such a cool photo of The Shard behind a bush. It looks like it’s just exploded!!! BOOOM, BAAAM and BOOOOSH!!!!!

The Shard is now the tallest building in London.

The Shard is now the tallest building in London.

The thing Clairie really wanted to see in London was Tower Bridge and as The Tower Of London is right next door we decided to visit both.  The Tower was really good, we saw Traitors Gate, but Tower Bridge was amazing. Just as we were getting ready to leave, a horn sounded and the bridge opened to let a wedding boat through. It was so cool, we hadn’t expected it to open at all!!!!

WOW!!!!

WOW!!!!

We saw the wall that the Romans built around London while they occupied it. They purpose of the wall was to protect the city from invaders. Eventually London outgrew it’s wall. Beside the ruins of it stood a statue of the emperor Tiberius.

My brother, Evan, is history mad. He enjoyed this part of the trip.

My brother, Evan, is history mad. He enjoyed this part of the trip.

Evan by the wall. I bet no enemies could get over that!!

Evan by the wall. I bet no enemies could get over that!!

Irys and I posing as royal emperor's assistants.

Irys and I posing as royal emperor’s assistants.

The next stop was my favourite part of the trip: Somerset House’s Fountain Courtyard!! Mum was explaining to Clairie that in the Winter there is a huge ice rink in the yard and in all the other parts of the year there are big fountains you can run and play in. As it was a really hot day, I asked if I may go in the fountains, I’m so glad that the answer was yes. Me, Dad, Evan and Irys skipped and jumped in the beautiful, sunny fountains. It was much to the amusement of lots of people enjoying the pretty sights and grand house. Loads of folks with snazzy cameras took pics of us , but I didn’t care, I was having the time of my life!!

Fun, fun , fun

Fun, fun , fun

Barefoot, with our trousers rolled up, in London? Mad!!!

Barefoot, with our trousers rolled up, in London? Mad!!!

Irys, lovin' it!!

Irys, lovin’ it!!

Time to move on again, this time to Covent Garden, Clairie’s favourite spot. We walked along all the shops, watched some street acts (including an opera singer and a man who performed magic tricks), Clairie bought a coconut full of coconut water and we saw the living statues. We also visited the Tintin Shop and bought a mask.

Clairie, me, Irys and Evan.

Clairie, me, Irys and Evan.

The living statue

The living statue

Trafalgar Square next!!! We saw Nelson’s Column and the Canadian and Ugandan Embassies.

Such a brave and proud man. He died for his country and so he deserves his place looking down over London.

Such a brave and proud man. He died for his country and so he deserves his place looking down over London.

Back down The Mall, all of our legs are aching now and our feet are sore.

The Mall, SW1, The City Of Westminster, London, UK.

The Mall, The City Of Westminster, London, UK.

The Union Jack

The Union Jack

One last Selfie at Buckingham Palace

One last Selfie at Buckingham Palace

The train home was a bit of a squeeze. Oh well, you haven’t experienced London properly if you haven’t been shoved in a crowded train carriage fighting for personal space and gasping for air.