In episode 009 of Her Voice Echoes we continue to hear about the life of Harriet Jacobs, a woman born 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 009 includes chapters 15-17 of the book. In these chapters Harriet is in her late teens and early 20s. Dr. Flint, her enslaver, turns violent, abusing Harriett both physically and emotionally. When her will isn’t broken, he forces Harriett to move from her Grandmother’s home in town to the family plantation. When Harriet learns that her children are to join her on the plantation, she must decide whether to stay and consign her children to a degraded life in bondage or flee and risk not only her own life, but those of her children as well.
The book was 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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