Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

The book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl published in 1861, tells the story of the struggle of Harriet Jones herself. From the beginning of her life in 1813 in Edenton, North Carolina to how she maneuvered through multiple slave owners, and the injustices she faced. Having to grow up by yourself after your parents pass at such a young age, while also having a younger brother to take care of as well as raise yourself, just goes to show that even from a young age, Ms. Jones was a very strong woman. When living with her mother’s mistress, she was able to be educated which many slaves at the time couldn’t even think of as a possibility. After the mistress’s passing, Harriet’s life took a turn for the worse when she went to live in the home of a man who would continue to sexually abuse her. She allowed herself to have an affair with her white neighbor to try to lead that to disgust her owner enough to sell her off, but it unfortunately back fired on her. She was finally able to trick her way into escaping, because she did not want her children to be susceptible to the same kind of unfair treatment she went through. After years of hiding out in an attic she’s able to escape to New York to try to be with her daughter, and that seemed to go well for some time because she was also able to find a job with a kinder family than most. Her previous owner followed her North and continued to try to pursue her, as well as endanger her children to be enslaved once again, which leads Harriet to escape to Boston. The Fugitive Slave Act passed during this time which made Harriet even more vulnerable to kidnapping and re-enslavement. When her previous slave owner passes away, his relatives try to make a claim on Harriet, but fortunate for her, her current employer bought her freedom, even though she was unwilling to be bought and sold again. After all was said and done, Harriet volunteered in the freedmen’s relief movement, by passing out food and supplies to blacks who escaped slavery or war. Eventually she also returned north to run a boarding house for colored Harvard faculty and students. Harriet Jones is a very resilient woman and her story and perseverance is inspiring.