Harriet Jacobs, a worker for the people

Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897)

Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) She was not given credit for having written Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl until 1987, due to confusion about her pen name.

Harriet Jacobs is best known for her slave narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. She published the book in 1861, the story of her life as slave. The most remarkable portions of the book have her hiding out in a garret, nearby her former master’s home for nearly seven years, while he searched for her far and wide, unsuccessfully.

After her freedom was purchased, Jacobs sought to do good works.  She went to first to Washington, D.C. and Virginia to help runaway slaves. She raised money for schools to help runaway slaves and their children learn how to read and write.

After the war, Jacobs traveled further south with her daughter to see to the care, feeding and education of the enslaved on the Georgia coast in Savannah and its environs. The freed population of Savannah had swelled to three times the size of the normal population. Jacobs worked to make sure the freed slaves obtained land to work on, books and schooling for their children.

Jacobs worked hard for a new day with complete understanding, having been formerly enslaved herself.  Activists like Jacobs and her daughter Louisa are wonderful examples of the desire of African Americans to help their formerly enslaved human family to realize themselves fully as human beings. They are examples, indeed.

My current Work In Progress The Preacher’s Promise, features the story of Amanda Stewart, someone who, like Jacobs, came from the North to the South. This week, The Preacher’s Promise was selected to be in the Top 50 of Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write Contest.  Here is the link if you have not read about Amanda and Virgil:


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  1. Pingback: Could Amanda Stewart have existed? Another look at the sources for The Preacher’s Promise | Piper Huguley

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