“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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Slavery is a term that can create a whirlwind of emotions for everyone. During the hardships faced by the African Americans, hundreds of accounts were documented. Harriet Jacobs, Charles Ball and Kate Drumgoold each shared their perspectives of being caught up in the world of slavery. There were reoccurring themes throughout the books as well as varying angles that each author either left out or never experienced. Taking two women’s views as well as a man’s, we can begin to delve deeper into what their everyday lives would have been like. Charles Ball’s Fifty Years in Chains and Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl were both published in the early 1860’s while Kate Drumgoold’s A Slave Girl’s Story came almost forty years later
Slavery in the middle of the 19th century was well known by every American in the country, but despite the acknowledgment of slavery the average citizen did not realize the severity of the lifestyle of the slave before slave narratives began to arise. In Incidents in the life of a slave girl, Harriet Jacobs uses an explicit tone to argue the general life of slave compared to a free person, as well as the hardships one endured on one’s path to freedom. Jacobs fought hard in order to expand the abolitionist movement with her narrative. She was able to draw in the readers by elements of slave culture that helped the slaves endure the hardships like religion and leisure and the middle class ideals of the women being “submissive, past, domestic,
It would be ignorant to say racism does not exist till today. There is almost a complete 100 year difference between the reconstruction period and the Civil Rights Movement for equal rights to the Black society. While slavery took time to vanish in the south in those hundreds of years, segregation was pushed harshly, laws we 're enacted to prevent Blacks from having certain privileges that whites had. Segregation almost seemed to kick the Blacks out of the society we live together in. The Jim Crow laws had made efficient work in separating the Blacks from the Whites in society, and it took the Civil Rights movement in 1964 to finally bring more equality to the African-American society. However, the Ku Klux Klan and still other organizations had existed and continue to exist despite efforts to bring equality. There is a strong social equality for the Black population in America today, but because of hate organizations and discrimination still existing today, black lives are being lost through murder, and even in forms of police brutality. Take for example the L.A riots in 1992 from the beating of Rodney King, or going back to 1967 the Detroit riots which tore apart these cities. Today Black Lives Matter movements exist to crush out racism in society so people no longer have to live in fear, and it is an existing movement that I think will actually fade as generations in the future work to build up society, and racism will become a thing of a past. There is however, always going to be something that causes prejudices and hate in society if not directed to one group of people. Even today if racism disappears between blacks and whites, prejudice occurs between cultural people here in America. These problems exist mainly in America, and it is socially slowing us down from advancing as a
It is well known that slavery was a horrible event in the history of the United States. However, what isn't as well known is the actual severity of slavery. The experiences of slave women presented by Angela Davis and the theories of black women presented by Patricia Hill Collins are evident in the life of Harriet Jacobs and show the severity of slavery for black women.
A recurring theme in, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is Harriet Jacobs's reflections on what slavery meant to her as well as all women in bondage. Continuously, Jacobs expresses her deep hatred of slavery, and all of its implications. She dreads such an institution so much that she sometimes regards death as a better alternative than a life in bondage. For Harriet, slavery was different than many African Americans. She did not spend her life harvesting cotton on a large plantation. She was not flogged and beaten regularly like many slaves. She was not actively kept from illiteracy. Actually, Harriet always was treated relatively well. She performed most of her work inside and was rarely ever punished, at the request of her licentious master. Furthermore, she was taught to read and sew, and to perform other tasks associated with a ?ladies? work. Outwardly, it appeared that Harriet had it pretty good, in light of what many slaves had succumbed to. However, Ironically Harriet believes these fortunes were actually her curse. The fact that she was well kept and light skinned as well as being attractive lead to her victimization as a sexual object. Consequently, Harriet became a prospective concubine for Dr. Norcom. She points out that life under slavery was as bad as any slave could hope for. Harriet talks about her life as slave by saying, ?You never knew what it is to be a slave; to be entirely unprotected by law or custom; to have the laws reduce you to the condition of chattel, entirely subject to the will of another.? (Jacobs p. 55).
In her story Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs presents what life was like living as a female slave during the 19th century. Born into slavery, she exhibits, to people living in the North who thought slaves were treated fairly and well, how living as a slave, especially as a female slave during that time, was a heinous and horrible experience. Perhaps even harder than it was if one had been a male slave, as female slaves had to deal with issues, such as unwanted sexual attention, sexual victimization and for some the suffering of being separated from their children. Harriet Jacobs shows that despite all of the hardship that she struggled with, having a cause to fight for, that is trying to get your children a better life
Educating the North of the dismay of slavery through the use of literature was one strategy that led to the questioning, and ultimately, the destruction of slavery. Therefore, Harriet Jacobs’s narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is very effective in using various tactics in order to get women in the North to pay attention and question the horrifying conditions in the South. By acknowledging that not all slaveholders were inhumane, explaining the horrific abuse and punishments slaves endured, and comparing the manner in which whites and slaves spent their holidays, Jacobs’s narrative serves its purpose of arousing Northern women to take notice of the appalling conditions tons of Southern
In her essay, “Loopholes of Resistance,” Michelle Burnham argues that “Aunt Marthy’s garret does not offer a retreat from the oppressive conditions of slavery – as, one might argue, the communal life in Aunt Marthy’s house does – so much as it enacts a repetition of them…[Thus] Harriet Jacobs escapes reigning discourses in structures only in the very process of affirming them” (289). In order to support this, one must first agree that Aunt Marthy’s house provides a retreat from slavery. I do not. Burnham seems to view the life inside Aunt Marthy’s house as one outside of and apart from slavery where family structure can exist, the mind can find some rest, comfort can be given, and a sense of peace and humanity can be achieved. In contrast, Burnham views the garret as a physical embodiment of the horrors of slavery, a place where family can only dream about being together, the mind is subjected to psychological warfare, comfort is non-existent, and only the fear and apprehension of inhumanity can be found. It is true that Aunt Marthy’s house paints and entirely different, much less severe, picture of slavery than that of the garret, but still, it is a picture of slavery differing only in that it temporarily masks the harsh realities of slavery whereas the garret openly portrays them. The garret’s close proximity to the house is symbolic of the ever-lurking presence of slavery and its power to break down and destroy families and lives until there is nothing left. Throughout her novel, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs presents these and several other structures that suggest a possible retreat from slavery, may appear from the outside to provide such a retreat, but ideally never can. Among these structures are religion, literacy, family, self, and freedom.
In Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the author subjects the reader to a dystopian slave narrative based on a true story of a woman’s struggle for self-identity, self-preservation and freedom. This non-fictional personal account chronicles the journey of Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) life of servitude and degradation in the state of North Carolina to the shackle-free promise land of liberty in the North. The reoccurring theme throughout that I strive to exploit is how the women’s sphere, known as the Cult of True Womanhood (Domesticity), is a corrupt concept that is full of white bias and privilege that has been compromised by the harsh oppression of slavery’s racial barrier. Women and the female race are falling for man’s
Slavery was a horrible institution that dehumanized a race of people. Female slave bondage was different from that of men. It wasn't less severe, but it was different. The sexual abuse, child bearing, and child care responsibilities affected the females's pattern of resistance and how they conducted their lives. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, demonstrates the different role that women slaves had and the struggles that were caused from having to cope with sexual abuse.
The most prominent demonstration of racism in America had to be the slave codes that were in place in all states where slavery was practiced. In “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans,” John Hope Franklin went into detail on slave codes on pages 137-138, “…these laws varied from state to state, but most of them expressed the same viewpoint: that slaves are not people but property and that laws should…protect whites.” One law stated that those enslaved could not bear arms or strike a white person, even in self-defense, but when a white person killed a slave it wasn’t even considered murder. Africans had no standing in court, they couldn’t testify or be a party to a lawsuit and their marriages were not legally binding. Raping an African American woman by her master wasn’t considered a crime either. The slave codes were designed to oppress, persecute, and humiliate blacks by the hands of the whites. With the slave codes and the eventual Jim Crow laws and any oppressive laws and segregation practiced in America, the idea of blacks being inferior was stamped into the minds of any person living in the country. African Americans were treated as subpar, they weren’t considered human beings and to this day the same belief is held unto, although not nearly as outright or not as blatant as in the past centuries. Slavery in itself is a large example of how racism is and may always be embedded into American society; blacks had to fight to even be considered citizens, be able to vote, and be given basic human rights. Though many would deny the existence of racism, the sad truth is that racism may be an ever-present concept in American society.
...ee, slavery in this time period was essentially at its HIGHEST. There were so many factors put into play that gave it a reason to still exist at this time. With the rise in the economy, a completely new and full-proof labor force, and a strange congregation of blacks and whites the slavery trend kept going up until it was finally illegal. The time between 1800 and 1860 gave a very big gap of changes within America itself, and absolutely gave a great example of how slavery was not at a decline. If you go against the thought of it, which most of us do, you accepted that it is done and over with. There will always be racism; it is inevitable even in today’s world. Just hope that history does not repeat itself in these manners, because that is all that can really be done. Many obviously frowned it upon, and it was clearly a terrible act to engage in. But, it is history.
In Harriet Jacobs’ autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, personal accounts that detail the ins-and-outs of the system of slavery show readers truly how monstrous and oppressive slavery is. Families are torn apart, lives are ruined, and slaves are tortured both physically and mentally. The white slaveholders of the South manipulate and take advantage of their slaves at every possible occasion. Nothing is left untouched by the gnarled claws of slavery: even God and religion become tainted. As Jacobs’ account reveals, whites control the religious institutions of the South, and in doing so, forge religion as a tool used to perpetuate slavery, the very system it ought to condemn. The irony exposed in Jacobs’ writings serves to show
In Harriett Jacobs’s book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, she informs her readers of her life as a slave girl growing up in southern America. By doing this she hides her identity and is referred to as Linda Brent which she had a motive for her secrecy? In the beginning of her life she is sheltered as a child by her loving mistress where she lived a free blissful life. However after her mistress dies she is not freed from the bondage of slaver but given to her mistress sister and this is where Jacobs’s happiness dissolved. In her story, she reveals that slavery is terrible for men but, is more so dreadful for women. In addition woman bore being raped by their masters, as well as their children begin sold into slavery. All of this experience
In conclusion, women were considered property and slave holders treated them as they pleased. We come to understand that there was no law that gave protection to female slaves. Harriet Jacob’s narrative shows the true face of how slaveholders treated young female slave. The female slaves were sexually exploited which damaged them physically and psychologically. Furthermore it details how the slave holder violated the most sacred commandment of nature by corrupting the self respect and virtue of the female slave. Harriet Jacob writes this narrative not to ask for pity or to be sympathized but rather to show the white people to be aware of how female slaves constantly faced sexual exploitation which damaged their body and soul.