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The Art of Mort Künstler / The American Spirit / The Civil War

Here you will find a pictorial chronicle of the drama and excitement of American History. These paintings give the viewer an insight into the tumultuous life of this young nation that mere words cannot achieve.

Her Name Was Sojourner Truth

Historical Information

Isabella Baumfree had been born in New York at a time when slavery was still legal. The state Emancipation Act of 1827 freed her, and she later adopted the name by which she is known and celebrated: Sojourner Truth. A self-styled prophetess and itinerant preacher, she was an abolitionist and women's rights activist. Truth was accepted by leading Abolitionists like Lucretia Mott, the Grimke sisters, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. After the Civil War she continued to be active in the struggle for African-American rights, guaranteed in the Constitution, but ignored or flouted by North and South alike. In the process, she became the first black to win a slander suit against a white citizen, and she was instrumental in desegregating public transportation in the national capital.

Mort Künstler's Comments

My wife was the model for this idealized version of a young Sojourner Truth. The only known photograph of Sojourner Truth shows her as an elderly woman. I gave Debbi this painting just before my first show at the Hammer Galleries.

Date Created: 1977

Medium: Oil on board

Image Size: 20 3/4" x 17 1/2"


All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.