Abolitionist Sojourner Truth served as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, guiding, cajoling and even threatening runaway slaves to continue their long walks to freedom, often at night, before the Civil War.
Hundreds of years after her death, Sojourner Truth’s image is flying high as Norwegian Air Shuttle’s first black and first American female tailfin heroes, honoring her courageous life and work. She died in 1883 after slavery had been abolished.
Sojourner Truth’s image is on the tailfin of a Norwegian Boeing 737 Max 8 jet, scheduled to take flight in a couple of weeks.
“Our tailfin hero program celebrates everyday heroes who are admired for their various accomplishments and ability to inspire others into actions. Sojourner Truth is definitely an inspiration and a pioneer for so many people in the United States and around the world,” said Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s chief commercial officer. “She is someone who pushed boundaries and challenged the establishment in more ways than one.”
Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Baumfree around 1797 in Rifton, New York. She escaped slavery in 1826, fleeing a plantation with her infant daughter. In 1828, she went to court to recover her enslaved son. She won her case and became the first black woman in America to achieve this feat. She changed her name to Sojourner Truth in 1843, became a Methodist and toured the country as an abolitionist.
In addition to acting as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and becoming one of the nation’s most-active abolitionists, Truth recruited black men to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War. Sojourner Truth also was an early advocate for women’s rights and prison reform. The Smithsonian Institution has called her one of the “100 Most Significant Americans.”
In 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention, she gave her now famous “Ain’t I a Woman,” speech.
Norwegian Air Shuttle has honored hundreds of others as tailfin heroes, including Benjamin Franklin. His image is on the third Boeing 737 Max 8, and Sojourner Truth’s is on the fourth.
The Federal Aviation Administration certified the Max 8 for commercial use in March. The planes were built or assembled in Renton, Washington near Seattle.
Norwegian is the world’s sixth largest low-cost airline. Last year, it carried 30 million passengers.
It is headquartered in Damanten, Norway and Baerum, Norway. The airline operates over more than 500 routes and flies to 150 destinations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, the Caribbean and the United States. Norwegian offers 64 routes from the U.S.