Dutch Elements in the New York Contact Zone: Traces of the Dutch Language and Literature in Sojourner Truth’s Slave Narrative (1850)

  1. Jeroen Dewulf

Abstract

It is a little-known fact that the native language of Sojourner Truth (ca. 1797–1883), one of the icons of the American Civil Rights Movement, was Dutch. Growing up as a slave of Dutch-American families in the Central Hudson Valley, Truth only spoke Dutch as a child. While she later became fluent in English, Truth kept a Dutch accent all her life. Although Truth’s entire testimonial has been recorded in her second language, English, this article attempts to reawakening her Dutch legacy. It explores the way(s) in which the Dutch language and Dutch literature impacted Truth’s famous Narrative about her time in slavery, her rebirth as an evangelical Christian and her involvement in the abolitionist and feminist movements.

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Neerlandica Wratislaviensia

22, 2014

Pages from 13 to 25

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