Storytellers: Harriet Jacobs


Although the veracity of her story was challenged for decades are storyteller of the day is now recognized as the true author of her work. We're talking about harriet jacobs. Harriet jacobs was born in eighteen. Thirteen endan north carolina to delilah and daniel jacobs. Both her mother and father were enslaved. Her grandmother had been emancipated by her former enslavers. When harry it was six her mother died and she was left in the care of her enslavers. Margaret horn blow margaret taught her to read and write an uncommon practice for the time but when harriet was twelve her fortune changed. Margaret passed away and instead of emancipating. Harriet bequeath. terry her three-year-old niece. mary matilda nor calm. Harriet subsequently moved into the nor com household. A family that did not share margaret's relatively more progressive views within three years. Though harry it was just a young teenager she had become the sexual fixation of mary's father. Dr james nor com. His sexual harassment was unrelenting and he refused to allow harry to marry. It was then. Harriet made a calculated decision. She decided to return the advances of another white man. A local lawyer by the name of samuel treadwell sawyer. She hoped that bearing the children of a different white man with spur her master into a rage her goal was to drive doctor nor com to sell her. Her plan did not succeed after bearing two of sawyers children dr nor com punished. Harriet by sending her to do backbreaking labor on his plantation while they're harriet. She fled to her grandmother's house and hit an crawlspace. Harriet remained in hiding at her grandmother's for seven years. During this time she revised her plan. Harriet wrote letters to dr nor com falsely claiming. She described to the north. This time around. She hoped dr nor comet sell her children to their father. Eventually this plan came to fruition and sawyer bought both of his children back from dr nor com soon after sawyer was elected to the house of representatives and moved with the children to washington. Dc desperate to reunite with her children. Harriet to fled north while searching for her children. Harriet found work. As a nurse. Made for the abolitionist. Nathaniel parker willis and his wife cordelia willis dr nor com continued to pursue harriet and. She was frequently forced to go into hiding often relocating between boston and new york eventually in one thousand fifty two the willis family was able to bhai harriet freedom during her time in the north. Harriet became involved with a feminist abolitionist group. It was there that she met. Amy post amy taken with harriet. Personal journey recommended that she read a book about her life. Harry agreed and decided to write her autobiography. Under the pen name brent. Her book called incidents in the life of a slave girl was published in eighteen. Sixty one with the rise of the american civil war. The book quickly faded from public discourse and remained relatively unknown for the rest of heriot's. Its lifetime harry. It was eventually reunited with her daughter. Louisa during the civil war. Harriet worked to aid former slaves who arrived as refugees in washington. Dc dedication to the recently emancipated community. Brought harriet back to the south in eighteen sixty five. Harriet and louisa settled in savannah georgia to continue relief efforts but due to persistent racial persecution forced to flee north once more this time harriet settled in cambridge massachusetts or she opened a boarding house. Not much is known about the final chapters of harry. It's life but we do know that she eventually returned to washington. Dc with her daughter. It was there that harriet died in eighteen. Ninety seven she was eighty four years old. It wasn't until the feminist movements of the nineteen sixties and seventies that incidents reappeared. Initially it sparked controversy. The books editor lydia. Marie child was a white woman. Common thought at the time was the autobiography was actually a novel written by child in one thousand nine hundred. Eighty seven historian. Jean fagin yellen corrected that narrative with her annotated edition of incidents yellen lays bare at the true identity of the author and the limited role child played in publishing the original manuscript at long last. Harry its name was attached to her work. Her role as auto biographer transformed. The significance of the taxed inherits writings. She describes her state of mind. She rejected the advances of dr nor calm in favor of sam sawyer. She explicitly discusses using her sexuality. As a tool to manipulate the white men who sought to further subjugate her harry it also acknowledges the judgement she received as a woman with two children born out of wedlock in her book. She argues that it is cruel to prescribe nineteenth century. Morality onto enslaved women as their fundamental rights had already been so profoundly violated incidents in the life of a slave girl remains one of the most important books of its kind. It is the only first hand account of the life of an enslaved woman at the time and gives unmatched insight into harry. It's perspective as she fought against forces of sexual and racial oppression in doing so. The autobiography occupies a unique space in both african american and feminist literature

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