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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet A. Jacobs; A True Tale of Slavery, by John S. Jacobs

George Hendrick (Editor), Willene Hendrick (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-881089-65-0
208 pages
August 1999, ©1999, Wiley-Blackwell
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet A. Jacobs; A True Tale of Slavery, by John S. Jacobs (1881089657) cover image
These two slave narratives expand our knowledge of the differing ways males and females coped with enslavement and later ordeals in flight. This popularly-priced anthology contains the often taught Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs and the recently discovered A True Tale of Slavery by John S. Jacobs, her younger brother, now reprinted for the first time.


After Harriet’s owner, a physician, repeatedly abused her, she escaped his sexual advances for a time by entering into a relationship with a local attorney. Her owner continued to harass her, and she sought refuge in a crawlspace where she lived in hiding. After her escape to the North, she published her narrative.


John S. Jacobs “walked away” as he put it, from his owner, a congressman. He sailed on a whaling ship and educated himself. He then became a paid agent of the Anti-Slavery Society, made a lecturing trip with Frederick Douglass, and finally settled in London, where he remained until it was safe for a fugitive to return to the North. He wrote his story for a London Sunday school journal where it was published in 1861.

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Introduction

1. Harriet A. Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

2. John S. Jacobs: A True Tale of Slavery

Childhood 13

The New Master And Mistress 17

The Slave's New Year's Day 24

The Slave Who Dared To Feel Like A Man 27

The Trials Of Girlhood 39

The Jealous Mistress 43

The Lover 50

What Slaves Are Taught To Think Of The North 57

Sketches Of Neighboring Slaveholders 60

A Perilous Passage In The Slave Girl's Life 69

The New Tie To Life 75

Fear Of Insurrection 81

The Church And Slavery 87

Another Link To Life 96

Continued Persecutions 100

Scenes At The Plantation 107

The Flight 117

Months Of Peril 121

The Children Sold 129

New Perils 135

The Loophole Of Retreat 140

Christmas Festivities 145

Still In Prison 148

The Candidate For Congress 152

Competition In Cunning 155

Important Era In My Brother's Life 161

New Destination For The Children 166

Aunt Nancy 174

Preparations For Escape 180

Northward Bound 190

Incidents In Philadelphia 194

The Meeting Of Mother and Daughter 199

A Home Found 203

The Old Enemy Again 206

Prejudice Against Color 211

The Hairbreadth Escape 214

A Visit To England 220

Renewed Invitations To Go South 223

The Confession 226

The Fugitive Slave Law 229

Free At Last 235

Appendix 245

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George Hendrick is professor Emeritus of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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