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Harriet Jacobs

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, written by herself is an autobiography by Harriet Ann Jacobs, a young mother and fugitive slave, published in 1861 by L. Maria Child, who edited the book for its author. Jacobs used the pseudonym Linda Brent. The book documents Jacobs's life as a slave and how she gained freedom for herself and for her children. Jacobs contributed to the genre of slave narrative by using the techniques of sentimental novels "to address race and gender issues." 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.
In the book, Jacobs addresses white Northern women who fail to comprehend the evils of slavery. She makes direct appeals to their humanity to expand their knowledge and influence their thoughts about slavery as an institution.
Jacobs began composing Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl after her escape to New York, while living and working at Idlewild, the Hudson River home of writer and publisher Nathaniel Parker Willis. Portions of her journals were published in serial form in the New-York Tribune, owned and edited by Horace Greeley. Jacobs's reports of sexual abuse were deemed too shocking for the average newspaper reader of the day, and publication ceased before the completion of the narrative.
Notable works Harriet Ann Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861).
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