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 Whose Dauntless Spirit And Faith Carried Her From A Life Of Servitude And Degradation In North Carolina To Liberty And Reunion With Her Children In The NorthWritten And Published In 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 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 Family 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 toarouse 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 isJacobs 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 Brent.She 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 events.As 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 foiledMy 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 himLinda 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 conquered. 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 equal portions She puts in grave context the uniquely female burdens of slavery how inhumanly debauched and grotesquely 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 strategyReader, my story ends with freedom not in the usual way, with marriageHarriet Ann Jacobs, 1813 1897 Fugitive Slave, Writer, Abolitionist 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 wroteI 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 disbelief Jacobs 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 worldI was never cruelly overworked I was never lacerated with the whip from head to foot I 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 fields When she ran away, this was the posting made by her slave owner An intelligent, bright, mulatto girl dark 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 victimized.This 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 coasterMany 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. 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 antiquaries, who are seeking to measure the progress of civilization in the United States. Once upon a time in America, not too long ago, fellow human beings had to go to extraordinary lengths to secure ownership of their own bodies and that of their children Never forget. 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 a moment, her owner wanted to have sex with her, a teenage girl who already is working for the family and at their call 24 hours a day Harriet could never get away from him Supposedly, a doctor, this disgusting excuse for a man, chose to spend his middle age pursuing a young girl night and day.She would rather give herself freely to another white man, a lawyer in his 20s who she thought might be able to help her.Rather then submit to the doctor she eventually is hidden in a small attic space in the roof of her grandmother s house for SEVEN years What tenacity Book ReviewHarriet Ann Jacob s work was similar to Frederick Douglass narrative in that both of the pieces read so quickly 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 had previously read Douglass piece which showed the life of a slave who was beaten viciously at times Jacobs, who experienced a very different type of slavery was mentally abused than physically abused She was a strong woman who I admired very much I thought she made a few mistakes in her life, but she was a role model for all the other slaves Jacob s work has shown the awful side of life like Douglass had, but Jacobs story was aimed towards a white women s audience from the Intro Either way, she has shown the struggle of a woman who wants to free her children, and so she is also fighting for herself She wants to free herself from the burdens of Mr Flint Jacobs work definitely is a strong model for women who are fighting to free themselves from the wrongs of society She is a good representative of, at the same time, a woman from the mid 19th century who s trying to escape She may not have suffered them same persecutions as every other slave, but she still suffered It flowed so smoothly and really gained an interest from the readers It hit home for some people and for others it just tugged on their heart strings some I think that it is very important for people to read this piece of literature because it gives a representation of a different side or type of American life It is a part of our culture back then and a part of our history Overall, I really liked this work and would recommend it to anyoneAbout MeFor those new to me or my reviews here s the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you ll also find TV Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I ve visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who what when where and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by. 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 But when her mother s new owner Dr Flint took control of the slaves, life changed for his unfortunate chattels For he was a cruel and vindictive man, always free with the whip and chain for any slight misdemeanour The majority of the slave holders were this way it was rare to find someone who was kind to their slaves Slavery was part of life in the South in the 1800s fine if you were a slave holder a master shocking if you were mulatto as Linda and her family were This story was hard to read knowing it s all true all authenticated It s a well written account of the brutality of the era an emotional and worthwhile read which I recommend.You ll find this one free to download on Project Gutenberg. 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 recommend. A remarkable and vivid autobiography that details the life of Harriet Jacobs as a slave in North Carolina in the mid 1800sMy Master had power and law on his side I had a determined will There is might in eachQuote from Incidents in the Life of a Slave GirlThis should be required reading in YA and history students in schools as it is documents the author s life as a slave and her fight for freedom for herself and her children An account in which female slaves are subjected to sexual abuse, the sale of their siblings and children, a life of torture, mental and physical cruelty with little hope of freedom, or even inner peace These types of books make me angry and frustrated and certainly don t make for pleasant reading and yet we NEED to read these books to inform, and educate us and most of all so we never forget the pain and injustice that was inflicted upon our fellow humans in the not so distant past I happened to listen to this one on Audible and the narration was quite poor and I really would not recommend it as a book of this importance deserves a narrator that can tell the story with clarity and without a forced southern drawl.I am so glad I came across this book as I have read quite a few historical fiction novels on slavery but this was an eye opener and certainly a book I will remember a long time from now. Letters of a Slave Girl by Mary Lyons was recommended to me, and maybe that one is easier to read than this book That is a novel based on the life of Harriet Jacobs, and this book was actually written by her She was a slave in the town I grew up in It s been hard for me to finish it because it is really hard to let my mind be taken into a society like that Her owner was a prominent member of the community, the doctor I keep thinking, I m so glad I have never heard that the town doctor was a part of my ancestry But it has made me wonder what my ancestors at that time did think and accept about slavery How did my forebears treat their slaves I know they had them What would I have thought and done if I was raised in that time I have never heard of the sexual exploitation of the slave girls the way she portrays it in this book It s so hard to believe that something like that was so prevalent and accepted The brutality of that era is so awful to even think about An interesting and emotional read.
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 write.In 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 house.By 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 writing.After 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 City.Aided 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 daughter.By 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
- 176 pages
- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself
- Harriet Ann Jacobs
- 04 July 2019 Harriet Ann Jacobs