Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
An Apple Books Classic edition.
Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery on a North Carolina estate, where she remained for the first six years of her life. Harriet and her mother served the mistress of the house, who taught Harriet to read and write and promised the enslaved girl freedom. That promise was broken when Harriet was sold into worse circumstances. She went on to have two children with a white man in the hopes of staving off the attentions of her cruel master, but when her plan backfired, Harriet decided to save her children by risking her own life—and running.
Published in 1861, Jacobs’ autobiography captured what life was like for a fugitive: always afraid, always on the move…for years. Hers is one of the first such accounts written by a woman, offering an intimate perspective on the dehumanizing horrors inflicted upon enslaved women. Jacobs’ autobiography helped mobilize many people to the growing abolitionist movement, and the book shows why Jacobs is considered not only an important abolitionist but also a feminist. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl deepens our understanding of slavery’s legacy.