Photo credits: Dreamscape Media
Harriet Jacobs was an African American woman born into slavery in Edenton, North Carolina in 1813.
Jacobs, who was well-known for her autobiographical novel titled Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. It was first serialized in a newspaper and then published as a book in 1861. She was also one of the most well-known nineteenth-century women of color.
Jacobs became an abolitionist speaker and reformer. When Jacobs was sexually exploited, she went into a tiny crawl space of her grandmother’s attic – where she hid seven years. Later, she escaped to New York City in 1842 and reunited with her two children.
At the time Jacobs escaped slavery, there were networks of people who dedicated themselves to helping slaves get to freedom.
There were many reasons why slaves escaped to freedom. Living life as a was very severe. Many times, slaves were beaten and tortured. Some slaves lacked enough food, drinks, and clothing. Slaves who worked outdoors did not have decent places to live.
Being sold was something that slaves feared tremendously. This was especially the case in the South. Southern slavery was far worse than Northern slavery in early America. Slaves escaped to freedom to develop their own talent and to make their own money.
Moreover, freedom gave them the opportunity to live where they want, get an education, and stay with their family for the most part. Even well-treated slaves who had enough food or did not get any beatings wanted freedom badly.
They wanted a better lifestyle than what they lived while being enslaved.
Jacobs, Harriet. “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.”
Hanton, Alex. The 5 Most Badass Ways People Escaped from Slavery
Holmes, Marian. The Great Escape From Slavery of Ellen and William Craft
North Carolina History Project. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl – North Carolina History
Why did slaves run away? – Pathways to Freedom | About the Underground Railroad. Why did slaves run away? http://pathways.thinkport.org/about/about5.cfm