The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

1575 Words7 Pages
ncidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Slavery, in my eyes, is an institution that has always been ridiculed on behalf of the physical demands of the practice, but few know the extreme mental hardships that all slaves faced. In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs writes autobiographically about her families ' and her personal struggles as a maturing "mullatto" child in the South. Throughout this engulfing memoir of Harriet Jacobs life, this brave woman tells of many trying times to keep dignity, family, and religion above all else.
In the life of slaves, daily routines greatly depended on the gender of the slave. A male slave was, who was old enough, was usually found laboring in the field under the hot sun, while female
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Women of slavery were commonly called upon to nurse their mistresses ' children through infancy so that the mother was not troubled in her sleep by her child. These women would often be found sleeping on the floor at the entry of their slaveholders ' bedroom, easily awakened and ready to serve the child 's every wish. Jacobs speaks of her Aunt Nancy who held this position for many years, and it was obvious that the needs of the white child and mother greatly out-weighed that of the black mother and child. Jacobs recalls, "… Until one midnight she was forced to leave, to give premature birth to a child. In a fortnight she was required to resume her place on the entry floor, because Mrs. Flint 's babe needed her attentions. She kept her station there through summer and winter, until she had given premature birth to six children; and all the while she was employed as night-nurse to Mrs. Flint 's children. Finally, toiling all day, and being deprived of rest at night, completely broke down her constitution, and Dr. Flint declared it was impossible she could ever become the mother of a living child." This excerpt from Jacobs ' book is a perfect example of the respect that was given to slaves, which was none. The Flint 's trusted this kind woman enough to basically raise their children, all the while making her sleep on the floor like a dog, not worthy of a
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