The slave narratives of the ante-bellum time period have come across numerous types of themes. Much of the work concentrates on the underlining ideas beneath the stories. In the narratives, fugitives and ex-slaves appealed to the humanity they shared with their readers during these times, men being lynched and marked all over and women being the subject of grueling rapes. "The slave narrative of Frederick Douglas" and "Harriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" themes come from the existence of the slaves morality that they are forced compromise to live. Both narrators show slave narratives in the point of view of both "men and women slaves that had to deal with physical, mental, and moral abuse during the times of slavery."
An American History, stated, “Black sought to make white Americans understand slavery as a concrete reality—the denial of all the essential elements of freedom—not merely as a metaphor for the loss of political self-determination.” African American fought collectively with both men and women against oppression from Caucasians. The practice of slavery for men and women both presented equally sufferings. However, the white planation owners or overseers routinely raped women during this time. Women regularly had their children stripped away from them and sold into slavery. However, ironica... ... middle of paper ... ...families.
Truth speaks for women's rights in this speech, but her question becomes more interesting when applied to African American women because they move from being a double minority to a single minority with this statement. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Song of Solomon, and Push demonstrate in their African American female characters the impact of having a double minority status. In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs depicts her struggle as an African American woman during slavery. As a female slave in her master's house, she was subject to her master's sexual advances. Jacobs explains her feelings about her master's desires and the struggle of female slaves in the following comments: The felon's home in a penitentiary is preferable.
She compares the life of men and women in the slave society, and how truly different they were. The roles of women are shown through the slaves’ life cycle, family life, slave society networks, and the civil war. Each of these various aspects of life are discussed very vividly in the book, and serve purpose in showing how African American women were treated so unjustly not only because of their skin color but the fact that they were women, therefore they were the most discriminated against in Antebellum America. Though they were discriminated against their nature proved them to not be submissive and subordinate in all aspects. The terms “Jezebel” and “Mammy” refer to African American women in this time period.
When somebody reflects the hardships of slavery, they typically think solely of the treatment towards African Americans. What most people are not aware of is how women were treated, whether they were of color or not. In Harriet Jacobs book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, she explains “Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, and sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own.” The cruel treatment towards female slaves and the struggles held by Southern women during the Civil war are disregarded by the majority of people today, even though it is a significant part of American history and still affects society. Slaveholders would often rape and impregnate their slave women, and then never let the women care for their mixed children.
One way to White men exerted power over Black female slaves was sexually, they would rape them and beat them. Women were looked at as savages, who deserved to be treated the way they were. Women also had to work hard labor like men in the fields, while being pregnant with the masters baby. Enslaved women were leaders of the slave communities, they led rebellions and resistance groups that helped to speed up the freedom of slaves. Additionally,women in the slave communities acted like teachers to pass down stories, traditions and resistance of slavery to the younger generations.
This is quite apparent through examination of the life of Harriet Jacobs. All slaves were forced to do hard labor and were subject to cruel remarks by whites, in this sense they were genderless, except women endured much more foul treatment. Harriet Jacobs was forced to listen to the sexual berating from her master, Dr. Flint, as well as receive jealous scorn from her mistress, Mrs. Flint. Yet worse than the verbal abuse was the physical, sexual abuse imposed on slave women. "Naming or not naming the father of a child, taking as a wife a woman who had children by unnamed fathers, [and] giving a newborn child the name of a father" were all considered by Herbert Gutman to be "everyday choices" in slave communities (Davis 15).
N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1997. 279-286. Jacobs, Harriet. "Classic Slave Narrative". Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.
It was very weird for children born in slavery, but what made it worse was that he was thought of as a mulatto. He was told that women that gave birth in slavery were subject to this, because they still had to be productive. On the other hand Jacobs depicts family life among slaves as one that remains intact in a comfortable environment. She details a family, in which each member had minimal rights, and little to no say so on how they spent free time or their earnings. Many of the scholars of the 20th centu... ... middle of paper ... ...ps with others more dependent on her masters," (Lee 29) much more segregated she believed compared to men.