Incidents In the Life of a Slave Girl

Incidents In the Life of a Slave Girl Summary

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
An Apple Books Classic edition.

Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery on a North Carolina estate, where she remained for the first six years of her life. Harriet and her mother served the mistress of the house, who taught Harriet to read and write and promised the enslaved girl freedom. That promise was broken when Harriet was sold into worse circumstances. She went on to have two children with a white man in the hopes of staving off the attentions of her cruel master, but when her plan backfired, Harriet decided to save her children by risking her own life—and running.

Published in 1861, Jacobs’ autobiography captured what life was like for a fugitive: always afraid, always on the move…for years. Hers is one of the first such accounts written by a woman, offering an intimate perspective on the dehumanizing horrors inflicted upon enslaved women. Jacobs’ autobiography helped mobilize many people to the growing abolitionist movement, and the book shows why Jacobs is considered not only an important abolitionist but also a feminist. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl deepens our understanding of slavery’s legacy.

Book Reviews


Great read.5 star

Absolutely amazing.55


An amazing and emotional story of truth…4 star

“Let every colored man and woman do this, and eventually we shall cease to be trampled under foot by our oppressors.” Excerpt From Incidents In the Life of a Slave Girl That excerpt was from Harriet, standing up for what she believed. This autobiography of her life is amazing (not the slavery). Her life in what she fought for, FREEDOM, is amazing. She was a very strong woman, she went through a lot. She was born into slavery but she was not mistreated in her early childhood but once she was sold to a new master everything changed. She was sexualizes and had hatred and jealousy put upon her from her new master and mistress. She sacrificed seven years of her life in confinement for the freedom of herself and her children and eventually it was done. Everyone should read a book, any book by an enslaved person to get a better understanding in what the world was like and to really see what slaves went through.45


POV from an Black American Woman5 star

An inspirational and timeless story about womanhood, strength, courage, and determination.55


Soo interesting and educational at one time.5 star

I couldn’t put this book down.55


Great Read!5 star

This recount of a slave’s experience from slavery to freedom is an easy read. Though I have read much worse recollections, I must admit the stories were heart wrenching. To stay in hiding for 7 years in a small space not big enough for one to turn or stand upright is unimaginable. To hear of stories where people were deceived regarding what slavery was and then passing laws to catch and return runaway slaves: it’s disheartening. Why would people run away from something that is soo good and comfortable? In retrospect, I believe it is easier to drink from a cup with sweet water than bitter water. It is easier to believe something you know and can imagine than something so perverse, so horrible that your imagination is afraid to tread.55


Sacred5 star

I am grateful to have had the chance to read about this courageous woman’s life. It’s unbelievable how this country started out and what she had to go through.55


Incredible, heart-wrenching tale5 star

This should be required reading for all students. It’s really a travesty that stories like this are repressed in the south, sweeping our skeletons in the closet and bolting the door shut. To understand the mindset of African Americans today is to know their history, and reading this book is a good start.55


Such a good read!5 star

This book will open your eyes! The struggles this woman went thru was terrible.55


First hand records of slavery’s ugly face and hearts of gold5 star

Emotional, it shows the glimpses in to the life of slavery. She wrote her life and painted pictures of external and internal struggles, oppressions, endurance, etc..,55


Great writing sad story5 star

Great read. I’ve read several similar narratives, and they are absolutely painful to read. It really shows the reality of the world we live in. I would suggest that everyone read these first hand accounts from the slaves themselves. If nothing is gained but a conscience thought the author has succeeded.55

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