because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Harriet Jacobs

In order to avoid the unwanted sexual advances of the man who held her in bondage, Harriet Jacobs (by law at the time a "slave"), escaped and hid out for seven years -- first in a swamp and then in the crawl space over her grandmother's shack -- because she refused to leave her two children, who were fathered by a White lawyer.  When her lover finally bought his children's way into freedom and sent them north to school, Jacobs went north herself, eventually joining her brother in Rochester, New York, where she became an active member of the Anti-Slavery Society and helped to support the Anti-Slavery Reading Room by speaking to various groups about her experiences.

Branching out from public speaking to publishing letters to newspaper editors, it wasn't long before Jacobs had written her memoirs as a novel, which she titled Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.  Originally serialized in the New York Tribune (one of abolitionist Horace Greeley's newspapers), the Tribune stopped publication in the middle of the book because they were concerned that Jacob's stories of sexual abuse would shock their readers.  In-your-face women tell it like it is!

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