Harriet Jacob : An African American Slave And Feminist

1071 WordsMar 1, 20175 Pages
Harriet Jacob: An African American Slave and Feminist “Reader, be assured this narrative is no fiction” (Author). Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is her narrative as a slave who lived in a slave state for twenty-seven years before escaping to live as a free woman in New York (Jacobs preface). Jacobs’ was motivated to write her story by a deep desire to share her experience in an effort to bring to light what slavery really was, a “deep, and dark, and foul experience that is an abomination” (preface). Like other slave narratives, Jacobs’ work gives a first person account of what it was like to be a slave during this period of American history. Her narrative also details what has otherwise been an untouched part…show more content…
For some, it is better to have never had a child and when a girl child is born, the mother knows that her daughter will have to endure the compounded pain of rape and the loss of her children. Along with losing a child on the auction block, Jacobs also describes the added degradation of slave women being used by their masters. Describing the beauty of a slave girl as her “greatest curse” because it would bring about the unwanted attentions of the master (38). Jacob’s master Dr. Flint caused her “days and nights of fear and sorrow” (40). Women often bore children from these unions and these same children were often sold to protect the honor and dignity of the slaveholder 's wife, who would otherwise be forced to face the evidence of her husband 's infidelity (74). Jacobs’ purpose in writing about her degradation by her lecherous master was not to garner sympathy for herself. As stated in her preface she wanted her story to bring about change and “to kindle a flame of compassion in your hearts for my sisters who are still in bondage, suffering as I once suffered” (40). She wanted the women up North to understand what it was like to be a slave woman in the south so that they in turn could work to end slavery. Jacobs does not just depict the
Open Document