In episode 008 of Her Voice Echoes we hear about the later teenage years of Harriet Jacobs, a woman born into slavery in 1813 in Edenton, NC. Harriet was enslaved for 27 years, eventually escaping to the North, where in 1861 she published a book called, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.”
Episode 008 includes chapters 12-14 of the book. In these chapters, Dr. Flint, her enslaver, is becoming more violent and gives her a serious ultimatum that will affect both Harriet and her children’s lives. Harriet continues her relationship with Mr. Sands and gives birth to another child, a daughter. She also describes. the reaction of the enslavers after Nat Turner’s rebellion and the role of the church and enslavement.
The book is an autobiographical novel written to appeal to the white women of the North. It combines the genres of slave narrative and sentimental novel and focuses on the themes of family, motherhood, chastity and sexual oppression. It was considered bold and indelicate at the time it was written. Harriet doesn’t dance around the topic of white men abusing black women. It was initially published as a serialized novel in a newspaper and then published as a book in 1861 under the pseudonym Linda Brent.
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