Black History Month: The legacy of Harriet Jacobs

Black History Month

(WNCT) As a woman born into slavery in 1813, it took Harriet Jacobs awhile to even realize she was a slave.

Years later, she knew she was destined for independence.

Andrew Cole is the program coordinator for the Historic Edenton State historic site.

“There have been slave narratives written before,” said Cole. But hers is in the perspective of a woman.”

In her memoir, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, she writes about endless trauma.

Jacobs wanted to escape since her parents died while she was young.

Her freed grandmother, Molly Horniblow, stepped in as her protector and mother figure.

Then Jacobs became a mother herself giving birth to two children.

She reached a turning point and knew she had to take control when a plantation owner tried to sell her children. 

So, she escaped.

After years of hiding, she escaped from Edenton in the 1840s and was reunited with her daughter.

Jacobs died in 1897 as a free woman and abolitionist, becoming an important part of American history. 

Jacobs’ book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is not only being published here in the United States, but people all the way in Japan are getting the opportunity to learn about the life story of Harriet Jacobs.  

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