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Incidents in the Life of a Slave GirlWritten by Herself by Jacobs, Harriet Ann, 1813-1897

Incidents in the Life of a Slave GirlWritten by Herself by Jacobs, Harriet Ann, 1813-1897

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girlby Harriet Jacobs (AKA Linda Brent)This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: Incidents in the Life of a Slave GirlWritten by HerselfAuthor: Harriet Jacobs (AKA Linda Brent)Release Date: February 11, 2004 [EBook #11030]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE ***Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Andre Lapierre and PG DistributedProofreaders[Transcriber's note: The spelling irregularities of the original have beenretained in this etext.]Incidentsin theLife of a Slave Girl.Written by Herself.Linda Brent"Northerners know nothing at all about Slavery. They think it is perpetualbondage only. They have no conception of the depth of _degradation_ involved in that word, SLAVERY; if they had, they would never cease theirefforts until so horrible a system was overthrown."A Woman Of North Carolina."Rise up, ye women that are at ease! Hear my voice, ye careless daughters!Give ear unto my speech."
Isaiah xxxii. 9.Edited By L. Maria Child.Boston: Published For The Author.1861.Preface By The AuthorReader be assured this narrative is no fiction. I am aware that some of myadventures may seem incredible; but they are, nevertheless, strictly true.I have not exaggerated the wrongs inflicted by Slavery; on the contrary, mydescriptions fall far short of the facts. I have concealed the names ofplaces, and given persons fictitious names. I had no motive for secrecy onmy own account, but I deemed it kind and considerate towards others topursue this course.I wish I were more competent to the task I have undertaken. But I trust myreaders will excuse deficiencies in consideration of circumstances. I wasborn and reared in Slavery; and I remained in a Slave State twenty-sevenyears. Since I have been at the North, it has been necessary for me to workdiligently for my own support, and the education of my children. This hasnot left me much leisure to make up for the loss of early opportunities toimprove myself; and it has compelled me to write these pages at irregularintervals, whenever I could snatch an hour from household duties.When I first arrived in Philadelphia, Bishop Paine advised me to publish asketch of my life, but I told him I was altogether incompetent to such anundertaking. Though I have improved my mind somewhat since that time, Istill remain of the same opinion; but I trust my motives will excuse whatmight otherwise seem presumptuous. I have not written my experiences inorder to attract attention to myself; on the contrary, it would have beenmore pleasant to me to have been silent about my own history. Neither do Icare to excite sympathy for my own sufferings. But I do earnestly desire toarouse the women of the North to a realizing sense of the condition of twomillions of women at the South, still in bondage, suffering what Isuffered, and most of them far worse. I want to add my testimony to that ofabler pens to convince the people of the Free States what Slavery reallyis. Only by experience can any one realize how deep, and dark, and foul isthat pit of abominations. May the blessing of God rest on this imperfecteffort in behalf of my persecuted people!--_Linda Brent_ Introduction By The EditorThe author of the following autobiography is personally known to me, andher conversation and manners inspire me with confidence. During the lastseventeen years, she has lived the greater part of the time with adistinguished family in New York, and has so deported herself as to behighly esteemed by them. This fact is sufficient, without furthercredentials of her character. I believe those who know her will not bedisposed to doubt her veracity, though some incidents in her story are more
romantic than fiction.At her request, I have revised her manuscript; but such changes as I havemade have been mainly for purposes of condensation and orderly arrangement.I have not added any thing to the incidents, or changed the import of hervery pertinent remarks. With trifling exceptions, both the ideas and thelanguage are her own. I pruned excrescences a little, but otherwise I hadno reason for changing her lively and dramatic way of telling her ownstory. The names of both persons and places are known to me; but for goodreasons I suppress them.It will naturally excite surprise that a woman reared in Slavery should beable to write so well. But circumstances will explain this. In the firstplace, nature endowed her with quick perceptions. Secondly, the mistress,with whom she lived till she was twelve years old, was a kind, consideratefriend, who taught her to read and spell. Thirdly, she was placed infavorable circumstances after she came to the North; having frequentintercourse with intelligent persons, who felt a friendly interest in herwelfare, and were disposed to give her opportunities for self-improvement.I am well aware that many will accuse me of indecorum for presenting thesepages to the public; for the experiences of this intelligent andmuch-injured woman belong to a class which some call delicate subjects, andothers indelicate. This peculiar phase of Slavery has generally been keptveiled; but the public ought to be made acquainted with its monstrousfeatures, and I willingly take the responsibility of presenting them withthe veil withdrawn. I do this for the sake of my sisters in bondage, whoare suffering wrongs so foul, that our ears are too delicate to listen tothem. I do it with the hope of arousing conscientious and reflecting womenat the North to a sense of their duty in the exertion of moral influence onthe question of Slavery, on all possible occasions. I do it with the hopethat every man who reads this narrative will swear solemnly before Godthat, so far as he has power to prevent it, no fugitive from Slavery shallever be sent back to suffer in that loathsome den of corruption andcruelty.--_L. Maria Child_ ContentsChildhoodThe New Master And MistressThe Slaves' New Year's DayThe Slave Who Dared To Feel Like A ManThe Trials Of GirlhoodThe Jealous MistressThe LoverWhat Slaves Are Taught To Think Of The NorthSketches Of Neighboring Slaveholders

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