Read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself by Harriet Ann Jacobs Free Online
Book Title: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself|
The author of the book: Harriet Ann Jacobs
Edition: Penguin Classics
Date of issue: November 24th 2005
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 7.55 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2940 times
Reader ratings: 4.2
ISBN 13: 9780140437959
Read full description of the books:
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 grow produce more than sufficient for their needs and of a high quality. It says that (some) slave masters allowed slaves time to go to market and sell their produce once a week which is allowing entrepreneurship. It says that the slaves were well-organised and commercially savvy. It says they had good customer service skills.
What it says most of all was that Slaves were all victimised but not all became victims. And that is why there are so many successful Black islands in the Caribbean. But this is not to blame those were victims. It must have been very hard to have the strength of mind and character not to be when one is owned, beaten and treated far worse than the family dog.
The best book I could recommend on slaves not being victims is Marlon James' The Book of Night Women. A very enjoyable and instructive book that will have you cheering and rooting for some characters that do some very evil things. You might have to listen to it rather than read it though as it is almost all in Jamaican dialect.
Read Jan 2013, reviewed Aug 2016.
Download Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself ERUB
Download Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself DOC
Download Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself TXT
Read information about the authorHarriet Ann Jacobs, usually wrote under the name Harriet Jacobs but also used the pseudonym 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 Messmore, attempted to reclaim Harriet and her children, on the basis that Mary had inherited Harriet, and