Incidents in the Life - Context - SparkNotes

Incidents in the Life - Context - SparkNotes - Context...

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Context Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery in 1813 near Edenton, North Carolina. She enjoyed a relatively happy family life until she was six years old, when her mother died. Jacobs’s mistress, Margaret Horniblow, took her in and cared for her, teaching her to read, write, and sew. When Horniblow died, she willed the twelve-year-old Jacobs to her niece, and Jacobs’s life soon took a dramatic turn for the worse. Her new mistress’s father, Dr. James Norcom (“Dr. Flint” in Incidents ), subjected Jacobs to aggressive and unrelenting sexual harassment. At age sixteen, afraid that Norcom would eventually rape her, Jacobs began a relationship with a white neighbor, Samuel Tredwell Sawyer (“Mr. Sands” in Incidents ), and with him she had two children while still in her teens. Instead of discouraging Norcom, Jacobs’s affair only enraged him. In 1835, he sent her away to a life of hard labor on a plantation he owned, also threatening to break in her young children as field hands. Jacobs soon ran away from the plantation and spent almost seven years hiding in a tiny attic crawl space in her grandmother’s house. She was unable to sit or stand, and she eventually became permanently physically disabled. In 1842, Jacobs escaped to New York and found work as a nanny in the household of a prominent abolitionist writer, Nathaniel Parker Willis. She was eventually reunited with her children and later joined the antislavery movement. In
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This note was uploaded on 12/07/2010 for the course AFAM 101 taught by Professor Mcmillan during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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Incidents in the Life - Context - SparkNotes - Context...

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