I was born a slave; but I never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away. My father was a carpenter, and considered so intelligent and skilful in his trade, that, when buildings out of the common line were to be erected, he was sent for from long distances, to be head workman. On condition of paying his mistress two hundred ...
I was born a slave; but I never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away. My father was a carpenter, and considered so intelligent and skilful in his trade, that, when buildings out of the common line were to be erected, he was sent for from long distances, to be head workman. On condition of paying his mistress two hundred dollars a year, and supporting himself, he was allowed to work at his trade, and manage his own affairs. His strongest wish was to purchase his children; but, though he several times offered his hard earnings for that purpose, he never succeeded. In complexion my parents were a light shade of brownish yellow, and were termed mulattoes. They lived together in a comfortable home; and, though we were all slaves, I was so fondly shielded that I never dreamed I was a piece of merchandise, trusted to them for safe keeping, and liable to be demanded of them at any moment. I had one brother, William, who was two years younger than myself-a bright, affectionate child. I had also a great treasure in my maternal grandmother, who was a remarkable woman in many respects. She was the daughter of a planter in South Carolina, who, at his death, left her mother and his three children free, with money to go to St. Augustine, where they had relatives. It was during the Revolutionary War; and they were captured on their passage, carried back, and sold to different purchasers. Such was the story my grandmother used to tell me; but I do not remember all the particulars.
My mother read this before I did and we both enjoyed the book.
Aug 11, 2011
Best I've Read
This is the very best insight into the life of a slave I have ever read, by male or female. Written pre-Civil War, Harriet Jacobs gives the view of the terrible dynamics of a slave girl entering womanhood at only 12 years old -- and the horrible consequences of the "respected community medical doctor" who wickedly controls her life, and his wife who hates her for simply living and thus being a feminine target of her husband. She gives descri\ptions of the very rough lives of other slaves on nearby plantations. A very engrossing read. I gave my copy to my good friend going back to Africa, who is interested in the history of African Americans. A definite recommendation.
Sep 6, 2009
She's amazing. We all know that slavery was an awful abomination, but hearing this firsthand account knocked the wind from me. I was stunned and deeply moved.
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