K. Avvirin Berlin, “The Mathematics of Truth: Peripatetic Freedom Calculations in the Narrative of Sojourner Truth” (pp. 114–141)
This essay reads passages in the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Northern Slave (1850) that pertain to walking and Black motherhood. In doing so, it theorizes Truth’s 1843 walking migration as a political pilgrimage whose spatial-temporal schema challenged federal and state policy. Armed with tactics borrowed from mathematics and the natural sciences, “sojourner laws” and other federal dictates worked to confine African American mothers like Truth to particular social and geographic places and to their status as enslaved and low-wage laborers. Casting a critical eye on Truth’s white feminist co-author Olive Gilbert’s representations of motherhood in the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, “The Mathematics of Truth” seeks to intervene into the reception of Truth’s life and politics.