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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself

The true story of an individual's struggle for self identity self preservation and freedom Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl remains among the few extant slave narratives written by a woman This autobiographical account chronicles the remarkable odyssey of Harriet Jacobs 1813–1897 whose dauntless spirit and faith carried her from a life of servitude and deg This book was first published in 1861 and reprinted in the 1970s Scholars initially doubted it was written by a slave Thankfully Harvard University Press authenticated and published findings of the 1980s and Jean Fagan Yellin Harriet Jacobs biographer dug up proof of the authenticity of this autobiography through letters and documents I only regret not having the 1987 Harvard University Press edition edited by Yellin Jacobs seemed to anticipate the doubting Thomas even as she wrote I hardly expect that the reader will credit me when I affirm that I lived in that little dismal hole almost deprived of light and air and with no space to move my limbs for nearly seven years But it is a fact and to me a sad one even now for my body still suffers from the effects of that long imprisonment to say nothing of my soul Members of my family now living in New York and Boston can testify to the truth of what I say Why the disbeliefJacobs wrote under the pseudonym Linda Brent changing the names of the abolitionists and slave owners who had helped her Legitimate reason for doubt Jacobs reason for changing the names also understandable Here s where it gets preposterous Jacobs prose was being compared to the male slave narratives Instead of being in chronological order hooray for the avid readers of contemporary creative nonfiction who find this cliche hers was told according to vivid incidents in her life Hint the title In addition she seemed like the heroine of a romance novel scholars said It was just so unfathomable that this woman this slave could have been chased in such a manner by an obsessive slave master whose wife mistreated her because she was so insanely jealous of her Why hide in such a place that resembled a coffin for so many years just because your master wanted you as his concubine It all seemed unbelievable Yet it wasn t Jacobs life was different than most She was raised by a kind slave owner who educated her gave her grandmother her freedom and yet died before Harriet could get her freedom She was of mixed race and had a father who also died before buying her freedom She was never beaten never saw hard labor and raised with a keen understanding of the world I was never cruelly overworked I was never lacerated with the whip from head to footI never had my heel strings cut to prevent my running away I was never chained to a log and forced to drag it about while I toiled in the fieldsWhen she ran away this was the posting made by her slave owner An intelligent bright mulatto girldark eyes and black hair inclined to curl but it can be made straight Has a decayed spot on a front tooth She can read and write This is the second time I ve read this account but the first time I ve captured it in its entirety Slavery is something that never ceases to baffle me How could my ancestors have been treated so cruelly like mere animals yet trusted with the food and babies of their owners How could they have been viewed unfit as humans yet fit enough to breastfeed their masters infants Reading this I paused to consider the many black mothers who raised white families because when you really consider the intimacy of breastfeeding you know that black slave mothers were giving white babies the same nutrients from their body that they gave their black babies They weren t good enough to eat from their masters tables yet good enough to stick a nipple in their masters mouths The hypocrisy and irony Speaking of intimacy think of the act of someone leaving his slave s sex bed and entering his wife s sex bed In the end women as a unit became the victimizedThis is what Jacobs seems to imply here with her themes of women as sex objects and women as slaves who treated each other as slaves the black woman and the victimized white woman as her master Most times you only hear about the crazed sexual acts but in this book you see that at times slave owners were in love with and obsessed with their female slaves even sometimes arranging for them to occupy the vacation homes away from the wives What Jacobs does in this narrative is speak directly to the issues of women during slavery the wife lover and child something that had not been done in previous narratives This narrative also highlighted something important for me The Fugitive Slave Act Imagine a life of always being on the run from the law just because you were demanding your freedom Previously slaves could always escape to the North and find refuge With this act their southern slave owners could go up north and seize them while they walked to church with their family What an emotional roller coaster Many a wife discovered a secret she had never known before that her husband was a fugitive and must leave her to insure his own safety Worse still many a husband discovered that his wife had fled from slavery years ago and as the child follows the condition of its mother the children of his love were liable to be seized and carried into slavery I learned about the Fugitive Act in history classes but never truly grasped the meaning of it until reading this book I m just glad that for Black History Month I could revisit this Paragon Walk (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, up proof of the authenticity of this autobiography through letters and documents I only regret not having the 1987 Harvard University Press edition edited by Yellin Jacobs seemed to anticipate the doubting Thomas even as she wrote I hardly expect that the reader will credit me when I affirm that I lived in that little dismal hole almost deprived of light and air and with no space to move my limbs for nearly seven years But it is a fact and to me a sad one even now for my body still suffers from the effects of that long imprisonment to say nothing of my soul Members of my family now living in New York and Boston can testify to the truth of what I say Why the disbeliefJacobs wrote We under the pseudonym Linda Brent changing the names of the abolitionists and slave owners who had helped her Legitimate reason for doubt Jacobs reason for changing the names also The Moon Platoon (Space Runners, understandable Here s where it gets preposterous Jacobs prose was being compared to the male slave narratives Instead of being in chronological order hooray for the avid readers of contemporary creative nonfiction who find this cliche hers was told according to vivid incidents in her life Hint the title In addition she seemed like the heroine of a romance novel scholars said It was just so The Echo (The Anomaly Quartet, unfathomable that this woman this slave could have been chased in such a manner by an obsessive slave master whose wife mistreated her because she was so insanely jealous of her Why hide in such a place that resembled a coffin for so many years just because your master wanted you as his concubine It all seemed The Asset (Wounded Warrior unbelievable Yet it wasn t Jacobs life was different than most She was raised by a kind slave owner who educated her gave her grandmother her freedom and yet died before Harriet could get her freedom She was of mixed race and had a father who also died before buying her freedom She was never beaten never saw hard labor and raised with a keen Shadow of Doubt (Newpointe 911, understanding of the world I was never cruelly overworked I was never lacerated with the whip from head to footI never had my heel strings cut to prevent my running away I was never chained to a log and forced to drag it about while I toiled in the fieldsWhen she ran away this was the posting made by her slave owner An intelligent bright mulatto girldark eyes and black hair inclined to curl but it can be made straight Has a decayed spot on a front tooth She can read and write This is the second time I ve read this account but the first time I ve captured it in its entirety Slavery is something that never ceases to baffle me How could my ancestors have been treated so cruelly like mere animals yet trusted with the food and babies of their owners How could they have been viewed Amazing Discoveries That Unlock the Bible unfit as humans yet fit enough to breastfeed their masters infants Reading this I paused to consider the many black mothers who raised white families because when you really consider the intimacy of breastfeeding you know that black slave mothers were giving white babies the same nutrients from their body that they gave their black babies They weren t good enough to eat from their masters tables yet good enough to stick a nipple in their masters mouths The hypocrisy and irony Speaking of intimacy think of the act of someone leaving his slave s sex bed and entering his wife s sex bed In the end women as a The Ruminator unit became the victimizedThis is what Jacobs seems to imply here with her themes of women as sex objects and women as slaves who treated each other as slaves the black woman and the victimized white woman as her master Most times you only hear about the crazed sexual acts but in this book you see that at times slave owners were in love with and obsessed with their female slaves even sometimes arranging for them to occupy the vacation homes away from the wives What Jacobs does in this narrative is speak directly to the issues of women during slavery the wife lover and child something that had not been done in previous narratives This narrative also highlighted something important for me The Fugitive Slave Act Imagine a life of always being on the run from the law just because you were demanding your freedom Previously slaves could always escape to the North and find refuge With this act their southern slave owners could go Infamous up north and seize them while they walked to church with their family What an emotional roller coaster Many a wife discovered a secret she had never known before that her husband was a fugitive and must leave her to insure his own safety Worse still many a husband discovered that his wife had fled from slavery years ago and as the child follows the condition of its mother the children of his love were liable to be seized and carried into slavery I learned about the Fugitive Act in history classes but never truly grasped the meaning of it Comfort of a Man until reading this book I m just glad that for Black History Month I could revisit this

Free read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself

Escape after several unsuccessful attempts and her seven years in self imposed exile hiding in a coffin like garret attached to her grandmother's porchA rare firsthand account of a courageous woman's determination and endurance this inspirational story also represents a valuable historical record of the continuing battle for freedom and the preservation of famil Reader it is not to awaken sympathy for myself that I am telling you truthfully what I suffered in slavery I do it to kindle the flame of compassion in your heart for my sisters who are still in bondage suffering as I once suffered In the pre civil war period of 1861 Harriet Jacobs was the only black woman in the United States to have authored her own slave narrative in a call to arouse the women of the North to a realizing sense of the condition of two millions of women at the Southto convince the people of the Free States what slavery really is Jacobs hoped that should the white women of the North know the true conditions of the slave women of the South they would not fail to answer the call to moral action With the help of a northern abolitionist Jacobs published this astounding poignant record under the pseudonym Linda BrentShe was a slave woman who for seven years lived in a tiny attic space in her grandmother s house before making her escape to the north In Incidents she recounts her story from her childhood writing in lyrical and intimate tones which in spite of its painful agonizing rhetoric coaxes the sensibilities of the reader To Linda s credit accounts of the ugly features in the daily life of a female slave atrocities treachery humiliation the lengths taken to evade the licentious abusers free at hand to mistreat with impunity and the sanction of social and religious law being hunted and separated from her children were narrated with striking control and measured emotion so that the reader is not overwhelmed by the lashes of such oppressive eventsAs a black slave woman Linda suffered hardships unimaginable to women of the North She spent most of her adolescent life in the household of Dr Flint barely able to keep at bay his lecherous sexual advances Flint was consumed by a neurotic obsession that grew in severity and viciousness whenever his sexual harassments were foiled My master met me at every turn reminding me that I belonged to him and swearing by heaven and earth that he would compel me to submit to him Linda could not accept the destruction of her moral and physical being that is to say by the conventional sexualizing of a female slave She refused to become the passive female victim instead she was fiercely determined to protect her virtue and to steer its destiny herself to uphold her dignity to seek freedom or die in her attempt As a final recourse to escape the grasp of one she hated and knowing it would outrage him she succumbed instead to a kindly white neighbor to whom she would bear two children When he told me I was made for his use made to obey his command in every thing that I was nothing but a slave whose will must and should surrender to his never before had my puny arm felt half so strong The war of my life had begun and though one of God s most powerless creatures I resolve never to be conuered Linda writes of her struggle to protect her womanhood with an ironclad sense of self a determination to maintain an autonomous identity impenetrable to assault She contrasts the roles of the female slave juxtaposed with those of the white female slaveholder as they both existed under the same patriarchal roof and offers that as hateful as slave owners were there were those who were good and benevolent though not in eual portions She puts in grave context the uniuely female burdens of slavery how inhumanly debauched and grotesuely disfigured white slaveholders were being empowered by ownership of female slaves Women are considered of no value unless they continually increase their owners stock They are put on a par with animals This same master shot a woman through the head who had run away and been brought back to himThe master who did these things was highly educated and styled a perfect gentleman He also boasted the name and standing of a Christian though Satan never had a truer follower Landing on Philadelphia s soil having severed the bonds from master was the ultimate triumph for the naturally virtuous spirit that could never acknowledge itself to be chattel Linda managed to keep the reins on her own destiny pride and dignity in her memory she stored the love of family she left behind and to her heart most dearly she held her children An important historicization of the female slave role or a victorious feminist s literature Incidents also exists as a testimonial of tragic human losses in an oppressive institution and a solemn reminder of those who did not escape it For Harriet Jacobs aka Linda Brent it is both a blood soaked lamentation and an enlightening melody of the break from the chains that bound her She concludes with subtext as impressive as her escape strategy Reader my story ends with freedom not in the usual way with marriage Harriet Ann Jacobs 1813 1897 Fugitive Slave Writer Abolitionist

review ☆ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Ð Harriet Ann Jacobs

Radation in North Carolina to liberty and reunion with her children in the NorthWritten and published in 1861 after Jacobs' harrowing escape from a vile and predatory master the memoir delivers a powerful and unflinching portrayal of the abuses and hypocrisy of the master slave relationship Jacobs writes frankly of the horrors she suffered as a slave her eventual Harriet Ann Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a harrowing account of one woman s journey from slavery to freedom It is one of only a few remaining slave narratives written by and about womenHarriet Ann Jacobs was born into slavery but always knew she deserved to be free Her younger years were spent under a kind mistress though what an oxymoron a kind owner of another human being After this mistress died it appeared she wasn t so kind after all Instead of setting Harriet or Linda her pseudonym in the book and her brother free she beueathed them to others Linda was given to her mistress infant niece whose father was a lecherous and evil man who hounded Linda mercilessly Like other slave owners Flint saw her not as another human being but as a piece of property to be used however he wished Linda eventually had two children and when Dr Flint threatened to send them to a plantation to break them if she did not succumb to his wishes young Linda ran away rather than let him use her children as a pawn She hid in a tiny crawl space under the roof of a shed in her grandmother s backyardWith the current pandemic it is helpful to put things into perspective Many act like it is persecution to be asked to stay home as much as possible In our own homes with all our modern comforts SafeLinda lived for seven years in a space she couldn t even stand up in A space measuring 9 X 7 X 3 feet 3 feet at its highest For my non American friends 27 X 21 X91 meters Seven years in that tiny space constantly in fear of being discovered Chattel slaves who ran away were put through the most unimaginable horrors if they were caught The fear Linda lived with every single day and hour and minute of her life would have destroyed a weaker person Thankfully this young woman eventually was able to flee to the North and in spite of the Fugitive Slave Act which said Northerners had to return any escaped slaves to their Southern owners Linda was able to evade capture for years until a kind employer purchased her freedom Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is LindaHarriet s autobiography She writes beautifully though harrowingly It is never easy to read of the tortures endured by chattel slaves in America and it would have been extremely difficult for Harriet to pen these words reliving the excruciating circumstances she endured all because of the color of her skinHarriet remained ever hopeful in spite of witnessing unspeakable crimes against herself and her fellow slaves Her spirit was indomitable The book reads almost like a novel Unfortunately for millions chattel slavery was not fiction Harriet wrote this book in hopes of exposing the horrors of slavery to Northerners to win them over to the abolitionist cause Her courage and fortitude are remarkable She writes with deep insight of the mind of the slave and the mind of the slave ownerThis is a book I think all Americans should read We do not need statues honoring Confederate soldiers in order to remember history We need to read books like thisHighly recommend Photo on Wikimedia Commons Attributions Gilbert Studios Washington DC C M Gilbert restored by Adam CuerdenJuly 2020 classic of the month


About the Author: Harriet Ann Jacobs

Linda Brent Harriet was born in Edenton North Carolina to Daniel Jacobs and Delilah Her father was a mulatto carpenter and slave owned by Dr Andrew Knox Her mother was a mulatto slave owned by John Horniblow a tavern owner Harriet inherited the status of both her parents as a slave by birth She was raised by Delilah until the latter died around 1819 She then was raised by her mother's mistress Margaret Horniblow who taught her how to sew read and writeIn 1823 Margaret Horniblow died and Harriet was willed to Horniblow's niece Mary Matilda Norcom whose father Dr James Norcom became her new master She and her brother John went to live with the Norcoms in Edenton Norcom subjected her to sexual harassment for nearly a decade He refused to allow her to marry any other man regardless of status and pressured her to become his concubine and to live in a small house built for her just outside the town Attempting to deflect Norcom’s advances she became involved with a consensual lover Samuel Sawyer a free white man and a lawyer who eventually became a Senator She and Sawyer were parents to two children Joseph and Louisa Matilda named Benny and Ellen in the book also owned by Norcom Harriet reported that Norcom threatened to sell her children if she refused his sexual advances She then moved to her grandmother’s house and was allowed to stay there because Norcom’s jealous wife would no longer allow her to live in the Norcom houseBy 1835 her domestic situation had become unbearable; her lack of cooperation prompted Norcom to send her to work on a plantation in Auburn Upon finding out that Norcom planned to send her children into labor as well she decided to escape She reasoned that with her gone Norcom would deem her children a nuisance and would sell them First she found shelter at neighbors’ homes before returning to her grandmother’s house For nearly seven years she lived in a small crawlspace in her grandmother's attic through periods of extreme heat and cold and she spent the time practicing her reading and writingAfter Norcom sold Harriet's brother John and her two children to a slave trader Sawyer purchased them and brought them to live with Harriet's grandmother Sawyer was elected to Congress in 1837 and took John with him during travels in the North John eventually escaped in 1838 Harriet’s daughter Louisa was summoned to take John’s place before she was sent to live with Sawyer’s cousins in New York CityAided by the Vigilant Committee Harriet escaped by boat to Philadelphia Pennsylvania She started living as a free woman and later moved to New York City in 1842 She found employment there as a nursemaid Her most notable employer was the abolitionist Nathaniel Parker Willis She reunited briefly with her daughter in Brooklyn When she learned that Norcom planned to come to New York searching for her she retreated to Boston where her brother was staying She made arrangements for her son in Edenton to be sent to Boston and she soon returned to New York Reward noticed issued for the return of Harriet JacobsIn October 1844 she revealed to Mary Willis wife of Nathaniel that she was an escaped slave To avoid further endangerment she and her daughter were granted escape to Boston again where Harriet briefly worked as a seamstress The following spring Mary Willis died and Harriet returned to Nathaniel Willis to care for his daughterBy 1849 Harriet had taken residence in Rochester New York where much abolitionist work took place She befriended Amy Post who suggested she write about her life as a slave The next year she fled to Massachusetts yet again after Norcom’s daughter Mary and Mary’s husband Daniel Mess attempted to reclaim Harriet and her children on the basis that Mary had inherited Harriet and



10 thoughts on “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself

  1. says:

    Harriet Jacobs book is uite a nuanced account of slavery from the point of view of one who is not physically abused This does not make slavery any better being owned and used and having no free will cannot ever be anything but terrible but it was less painful For most slave owners slaves were extremely expensive farm animals and only the richest who could afford 'herds' of them would be able to maltreat them on a continual basis If you wa

  2. says:

    This book was first published in 1861 and reprinted in the 1970s Scholars initially doubted it was written by a slave Thankfully Harvard University Press authenticated and published findings of the 1980s and Jean

  3. says:

    A remarkable and vivid autobiography that details the life of Harriet Jacobs as a slave in North Carolina in the mid 1800s My Master had power and law on his side I had a determined will There is might in each uote from Incidents in the Life of a Slave GirlThis should be reuired reading in YA and history students in school

  4. says:

    A human being sold in the free city of New York The bill of sale is on record and future generations will learn from it that women were articles of traffic in New York late in the nineteenth century of the Christian religion It may hereafter prove a useful document to antiuaries who are seeking to measure the progress of civilizati

  5. says:

    Book Review Harriet Ann Jacob’s work was similar to Frederick Douglass’ narrative in that both of the pieces read so uickly and easily I very much enjoyed Jacob’s piece The language seemed so real and almost as though Harriet or Linda was telling the story to me herself I understood the work very easily also probably because I

  6. says:

    Harriet Ann Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a harrowing account of one woman's journey from slavery to freedom It is one of only a few remaining slave narratives written by and about womenHarriet Ann Jacobs was born into slaver

  7. says:

    Reader it is not to awaken sympathy for myself that I am telling you truthfully what I suffered in slavery I do it to kindle the flame of compassion in your heart for my sisters who are still in bondage suffering as I once suffered In the pre civil war period of 1861 Harriet Jacobs was the only black woman in the United States to have authored her own slave narrative in a call to arouse the women of the North t

  8. says:

    Never having read a memoir written by a person living under the yoke of slavery I found this autobiography painful and enlightening Harriet Jacobs must have been a wonderfully strong woman to endure what she did and to demand her full rights as a human being She refused to give in to the sexual demands of her owner Let's examine that word

  9. says:

    Filled with sadness heartache and misery Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is the personal story of Harriet Ann Jacobs known as Linda Linda was born into slavery and enjoyed a life of childish happiness for a short time

  10. says:

    I found this book in the free classics section of the other night when I couldn't sleep I couldn't put it down finished the whole thing within 30 hours Slavery is such a heartbreaking thing this book really helped me understand how devastating it was and why it had such a lasting impact on our society Highly r

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