What was life like for Harriet Jacobs as a young slave in the south?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jacobs's life in the South was unusually harsh.  This is saying a great, great deal given the fact that all salves had harsh lives in the South.  Of particular note was her being separated from her grandmother and living with the Carolina White Doctor whose unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate behavior marred her adolescence.  Despite this, her narrative features a strong notion of resistance, as she endures abuse from her owner, yet does not compromise her values of self worth and dignity despite her condition of servitude.  The narrative is of particular note because it is from the perspective of a Black woman, which was rare in the discourse of the time.  To read the narrative details that women in the social constructions of slavery had to fight two separate battles:  Being of color and being a woman.  It is interesting to sense at different points in the narrative which condition provides the greater obstacles in overcoming.  Such a predicament details that as many voices from as many vantage points as possible must be present in as many moments in historical inquiry.

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