An SBMA Art Matters presenter, Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby features the largest collection of Sojourner Truth’s photographs ever published in the book Enduring Truths: Sojourner's Shadows and Substance. It is the first book to explore how Truth used her image, the press, the postal service, and copyright laws to support her activism and herself. Insightful and powerful, Enduring Truths shows how Truth made her photographic portrait worth money in order to end slavery- and also became the strategic author of her public self.
Runaway slave Sojourner Truth gained fame in the nineteenth century as an abolitionist, feminist, and orator and earned a living partly by selling photographic cartes de visite portraits of herself at lectures and by mail. Cartes de visite, similar in format to calling cards, were relatively inexpensive collectibles that quickly became a new mode of mass communication. Despite being illiterate, Truth copyrighted her photographs in her name and added the caption “I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance. Sojourner Truth.”