In episode 010 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 010 includes chapters 18-20 of the book. Harriet is now on the run, moving from hiding place to hiding place as her enslaver, Dr. Flint works hard to try and find her. She moves from a friend’s house, to a hiding place in a white woman’s home and finally, hides during the day in a snake-infested swamp, while sleeping on a ship. Her existence is both perilous and physically miserable. Meanwhile, her children and brother William bear the burden of her escape, as they are imprisoned in the town jail in an attempt to induce Harriet to turn herself in. Finally, though, they are delivered into safe hands.
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.
Here are the names of the fictionalized names and their real counterparts:
Linda Brett: Harriet Jacobs
William Brett: John Jacobs
Harriet’s father: Elijah Knox
Harriet’s mother: Delilah Horniblow
Aunt Martha: Molly Horniblow
Benny Sands: Joseph Sawyer
Ellen Sands: Louisa Sawyer
Ruth Nash: Margaret Horniblow
Dr. Flint: Dr. James Norcom
Mrs. Flint: Mary Curtis Norcom
Emily Flint: Mary Matilda Norcom
Mr. Sands: Samuel Tredwell Sawyer
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