Enduring Physical and Mental Abuse in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

Enduring Physical and Mental Abuse in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

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“Cruelty is contagious in uncivilized communities.” In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs provides a portrayal of her life as a black slave girl in the 1800s. Though Harriet described herself as having yellowish brown skin; she was the child of a black mother and a white father. “I was born a slave; but I never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away.” Born with one drop of black blood, regardless of the status of her white father, she inherited the classification of black and was inevitably a slave. Harriet endured years of physical and mental abuse from her master and witnessed firsthand how slaves were treated based on the color of their skin. Years of abuse can only be taken for so long, like many other southern slaves in the 1800s Harriet escaped to the North in hopes for a better life. After hiding in an attic for several years, Harriet made it to the North and assisted in the abolition of slavery. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl unmasked the brutality of how black slaves were treated, and branded less inferior than whites. Although the Thirteenth Amendment, in 1865, abolished slavery, it did not provide for racial equality. As a result, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. Even today racial equality is still an issue, skin color is often the trigger on how society reacts, the laws in place substantiate the past is still relevant. One area that racial inequality exists is in America’s financial institutions; even with the Fair Lending Act and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act there is still discrimination. As citizens of the United States we are protected under the Fair Lending Act, race does not take precedence over interest rate...


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...re is a need for laws to protect employees from discrimination based on skin color or race. Despite the fact the 1800s was two centuries ago, racism is still persistent in the 21st century. Even with the election of the first black president, Obama is biracial, yet he is still recognized as black. Many black Americans thought racism would cease to exist with Obama in office. The color of skin and race still lives on, after all the United States is multicultural. As in the 1800s, racism had astronomically effects on society; nonetheless American citizens have more laws and agencies to safeguard against racism. Remember, slavery is a part of America’s history and it can’t be erased like an error. Harriet Jacobs wrote, “There are wrongs which even the grave does not bury.” Despite the abolishment of slavery, racism has simply adapted to the changes within society.

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