In order to acquire freedom, slaves sold and purchased “passes” to travel freely through the towns and villages. They were able to disguise themselves with the skills that they practiced under their former master. Some pretended to be apprentices to avoid suspicion. One thing interesting that is described by David Waldstreicher in his essay, Unfree Workers Take Advantage of Their Economic Experience to Free Themselves is that the owners were confused about the reasons that slaves with skills run away, and failed to describe the flaws in the characteristic of the runaways. Rather than providing details about the physical appearance of the runaways, the advertisements had more detailed description about the possible jobs the runaways could take up.
Harriet A. Jacobs was born a slave in North Carolina in 1813 and became a fugitive in the 1830s. She recorded her triumphant struggle for freedom in an autobiography that was published pseudonymously in 1861. As Linda Brent, the book 's heroine and narrator, Jacobs recounts the history of her family: a remarkable grandmother who hid her from her master for seven years: a brother who escaped and spoke out for abolition; her two children, whom she rescued and sent north. She recalls the degradation of slavery and the special sexual oppression she found as a slave woman: the master who was determined to make her his concubine. With Frederick Douglass 's account of his life, it is one of the two archetypes in the genre of the slave
I have been reading a book that I am enjoying it. The name of the book is the Incidents in the life of a slave Girl. Harriet Ann Jacobs was born a slave in Edenton, North Carolina in 1813. The book talks about a girl that she did not know she was a slave, but later on, she has found out that she is a slave. She explores the struggles and sexual abuse that female slaves faced on plantations as well as their efforts to practice motherhood and protect their children when their children might be sold away.
Unfortunately for Harriet at the same age she realized she was someones property, her mother died. According to North Carolina Historic Sites (2011), " When her mother died, she fell under Horniblow's direct charge, learning to sew well as read and write. It wasn't until the death of her mistress in 1825 that she experienced the harsher realities of slavery" (Sites, 2). The harsh realities that Harriet faced were all to common. After the death of her father she was sold to a man named Dr. James Norcom.
Rather than immediately putting an end to slavery, Northern states took a gradual approach towards abolition. This method allowed for the steady growth in the population of free blacks, which the majority of Northerners generally accepted at the time. In the book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs described her life as a slave in the early 1800s and her ultimate goal to escape to New York. She primarily focused on the abuses of slavery and the slave’s struggle for self-definition. Her story not only impacted the lives of other female slaves when it was published in 1861, but it also affected Northern women who were dedicated to the Cult of Domesticity.
For example, she used personal experiences and historical facts in the story to introduce the audience to slavery. In chapter 8, she goes into telling the stories of how the southern slave owners mistook the stories of the north. It is said that in the north, slaves loved working for their masters and being property due to how "kindly" they were treated. Linda wrote, "She had never thought of such a thing as wishing to go back to slavery," mocking the lies spread by the northerners (chapter 8). During slavery times, southerners would repeatedly lie to trick slaves into thinking they were fortunate to be in their current circumstances.
However she would realize her husband would sleep with and impregnate his slaves. The wife’s of the slave owners would be very revengeful and jealous, due to the fact that their husbands would have kids with his slaves and see her kids as well as the slave women’s kids in the same household. . These women lived a fake, sad and miserable life due to the fact that their husband’s would be unfaithful with his slaves. In the passage Harriet states that women would be ashamed and not approve of what their husbands where doing, saying “‘He not only thinks it no disgrace to be the father of those little niggers, but he is not ashamed to call himself their master. I declare, such things ought not to be tolerated in any decent society!’”.
Incidents in the life of a slave girl is an autobiography by a youthful mother and criminal slave distributed in 1861 by L. Maria Child, who altered the book for its writer, Harriet Ann Jacobs. Harriet Jacobs role in regards to the African American history is to teach and inform. Jacob's book is tended to white ladies in the North who don't completely grasp the wrongs of bondage. She makes direct speaks to their mankind to extend their insight and impact their musings about slavery as a foundation. In her biography she said “I want to add my testimony to that of abler pens to convince the people of the Free States what slavery really is.
In today’s world, we learn about the harsh lives that slaves had to endure and how mistreated they were their entire lives. It’s often hard to imagine what it would have been like and how they coped with their terrible lives. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs discuss how they were able to find hope and comfort through the toughest of times. Through the harsh reality of slavery, slaves had the comfort of family, friends, and God to give them hope to one day have freedom. Family was a large comfort and a little bit of an incentive for slaves who were fortunate enough to have their family near them.
Many slaves ran away because of enduring physical and mental abuse. Since there were very few laws to protect slaves, they were often mistreated. In the book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs tells her true story of what she encountered during slavery. She tells of how after her Mistress died she was inherited by her late mistress’s niece. Since the niece was only five years old, Jacobs Master was the father of the little girl.
As stated in the title, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the life of Harriet Jacobs is one of oppression and bondage. The incidents that occur are gendered, meaning the threat of rape by her slave master and his jealousy over her happen because she is a woman. Though Jacobs does not have agency or freedom over her body, there are two instances where she does have the freedom to choose, specifically in romantic choice. These two incidents allow Jacobs to challenge her status as a slave and not only reclaim her autonomy, but her humanity as well. Harriet Jacobs, who is under the alias “Linda Brent,” tells of her first incident in which she desires “to be with a free black man rather than being forced into a sexual relationship with her
By telling this story, Harriet mocks the claim that slave owners are like fathers. She shows they do not protect their slaves, and slave masters are the problem. Harassing a girl fourteen years old to have sex, is nowhere close to father like; it is barely even
Alizae lounnarath Prof. Troy HIST 1301 12/1/14 Harriet Jacobs Final Paper Assignment Harriet Jacobs was a very important African American women during the hard times of slavery. Harriet was an example of how African American women were treated. Although she was tough and went through a long journey she survived and accomplished her goal of gaining freedom for herself and her family. Harriet was also an author who wrote a popular book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl which told her personal story including all the barriers in her life so that people could be aware of the cruel treatments and the lifestyle some of the helpless enslaved women had to go through during the 1800-1900’s.
Harriet Ann Jacobs is the first Afro-American female writer to publish the detailed autobiography about the slavery, freedom and family ties. Jacobs used the pseudonym Linda Brent to keep the identity in secret. In the narrative, Jacobs appears as a strong and independent woman, who is not afraid to fight for her rights. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl was published in 1961, but was unveiled almost 10 years later due to the different slave narrative structure. Frequently, the slave narratives were written by men where they fight against the slavery through literacy by showing their education.