Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself



Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by HerselfIncidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl Is A Slave Narrative That Was Published In 1861 By Harriet Ann Jacobs, Using The Pen Name Linda Brent The Book Is An In Depth Chronological Account Of Jacobs S Life As A Slave, And The Decisions And Choices She Made To Gain Freedom For Herself And Her Children It Addresses The Struggles And Sexual Abuse That Young Women Slaves Faced On The Plantations, And How These Struggles Were Harsher Than What Men Suffered As Slaves The Book Is Considered Sentimental And Written To Provoke An Emotional Response And Sympathy From The Reader Toward Slavery In General And Slave Women In Particular Citation Needed For Their Struggles With Rape, The Pressure To Have Sex At An Early Age, The Selling Of Their Children, And The Treatment Of Female Slaves By Their Mistresses.Jacobs Began Composing Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl While Living And Working At Idlewild, The Hudson River Home Of Writer And Publisher Nathaniel Parker Willis, Who Was Fictionalized In The Book As Mr Bruce Portions Of The Book Were Published In Serial Form In The New York Tribune, Owned And Edited By Horace Greeley Jacobs S Reports Of Sexual Abuse Were Considered Too Shocking To The Average Newspaper Reader Of The Day, And Publication Ceased Before The Completion Of The Narrative.Boston Publishing House Phillips And Samson Agreed To Print The Work In Book Form If Jacobs Could Convince Willis Or Harriet Beecher Stowe To Provide A Preface She Refused To Ask Willis For Help And Stowe Turned Her Down, Though The Phillips And Samson Company Closed Anyway She Eventually Managed To Sign An Agreement With The Thayer Eldridge Publishing House And They Requested A Preface By Lydia Maria Child Child Also Edited The Book And The Company Introduced Her To Jacobs The Two Women Remained In Contact For Much Of Their Remaining Lives Thayer Eldridge, However, Declared Bankruptcy Before The Narrative Could Be Published.

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

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  • Paperback
  • 140 pages
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself
  • Harriet Ann Jacobs
  • English
  • 14 December 2017
  • 9781503277946

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

  1. Better Eggs says:

    Harriet Jacobs book is quite 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 want hard work from your oxen, and you want to breed from your cows, they have to be kept healthy and in good condition Well fed, rested, and with down time Not a life of ease or quality, not one without the whip, but one designed that the animals will do their job dawn to dusk and breed on a regular basis So it was with slaves.However there is a line in a book Caribbean Slave Society and Economy A Student Reader by Beckles and Shepherd that says, Within one year of the free market being established in Kingston, it was run by slaves much to everyone s satisfaction What does that say It says quite a few things It says that the slaves had time and plots of land big enough to gro...

  2. Cheryl 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 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 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 c...

  3. Samadrita 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 antiquaries, who are seeking to measure the pr...

  4. Nicole~ 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 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 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 reli...

  5. James says:

    Book Review Harriet 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,...

  6. Beverly 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 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...

  7. Brenda 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 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 ...

  8. Amanda Bratschie 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...

  9. Susan says:

    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 a...

  10. Becky says:

    You know, for being such a short book, this one packs a wallop I think that we re all used to stories about the brutality and horrors of slavery, and that is a part of this memoir as well, but mostly it is focused on how degrading and dehumanizing and mentally torturous it is to be considered someone s property, to be used and treated however they feel, as though you re a throw rug to be taken out and beat for a while I don t think that there s much that I could say about this book that hasn t already been said Harriet Jacobs lived life at so many odds she was a slave, but a well treated one, by most standards She wasn t beaten, or worked to the brink of death She wasn t forced to watch her children be sold away from her one by one, as many other slave mothers were She wasn t raped In her community, her family was pretty well respected and even loved, despite their being chattel But the degradation and humiliation and constant risk of abuse and assault and death at the whim of someone who would be leg...

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