Stephanie J. Turner
Ms. J. Reed
5 December 2011
Harriet A. Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Jacobs’s construction of black female empowerment despite the limitations of slavery
Harriet A. Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is an autobiography written under the name of Linda Brent. This autobiography is a detailed account of her life or lack thereof. I use the term lack thereof because Harriet Jacobs was raised by her grandmother due to her mother dying at a young age. Harriet was taught to read and write as a young slave girl by her mistress. Harriet’s grandmother was a well-respected older slave woman who gained her freedom in the last will and testament of her mistress.
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The loss of parents and children who would die trying to purchase a child that God had allowed them to birth. If you birth a child isn’t that child yours? According to slave rules and regulations slaves were nothing and if a slave girl gave birth to a child that was the master’s she could not tell a soul. Not even the black man who she tried to make believe that he fathered the child. If the slave told that the child was the master’s she could be killed, sold or imprisoned (Jacobs). Certain black men are maintaining that they have been castrated by society but that black women somehow escaped this persecution and even contributed to this emasculation. The black woman had no protector and was used and in some cases, as the scapegoat for the evils this horrendous system has perpetrated on black men (Rubenstein). This statement rings true now as we look at the single parent homes of today. Today black women are yet subverting societal convention. We are yet rising above our current economic and socioeconomic status. In spite of great disadvantages and struggles black women are innovators. The black woman’s physical image has been distorted for societies view. We were called ‘mammies” From slavery through the Jim Crow era, the mammy image served the political, social, and economic interests of mainstream white America. During slavery, the mammy caricature was posted as proof that blacks -- in this case, black women -- were contented,