Arts

Harriet Ann Jacobs aka Linda Brent

Harriet Ann Jacobs a.k.a. Linda Brent

Harriet Ann Jacobs a.k.a. Linda Brent

Harriet Ann Jacobs (February 11, 1813 – March 7, 1897) was an African-American writer who escaped from slavery and became an abolitionist speaker and reformer. Jacobs’ single work, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, published in 1861 under the pseudonym Linda Brent, was one of the first autobiographical narratives about the struggle for freedom by female slaves and an account of the sexual harassment and abuse they endured.

Harriet Jacobs, daughter of Delilah, the slave of Margaret Horniblow, and Daniel Jacobs, the slave of Andrew Knox, was born in Edenton, North Carolina, in the fall of 1813. Until she was six years old Harriet was unaware that she was the property of Margaret Horniblow. Before her death in 1825, Harriet’s relatively kind mistress taught her slave to read and sew.

In her will, Margaret Horniblow bequeathed eleven-year-old Harriet to a niece, Mary Matilda Norcom. Since Mary Norcom was only three years old when Harriet Jacobs became her slave, Mary’s father, Dr. James Norcom, an Edenton physician, became Jacobs’s de facto master. Under the regime of James and Maria Norcom, Jacobs was introduced to the harsh realities of slavery. Though barely a teenager, Jacobs soon realized that her master was a sexual threat.  Continue reading

James Arthur Baldwin

James Baldwin

James Baldwin

Born: August 2, 1924 – Harlem, New York, U.S.
Died: December 1, 1987 (aged 63) – Saint-Paul de Vence, France
Occupation: Writer, Novelist, Poet, Playwright, Activist

Baldwin spent an impoverished boyhood in Harlem and at 14 became a preacher in the Fireside Pentecostal Church. His first two novels, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), reflecting his experience as a young preacher, and Giovanni’s Room (1956), which dealt with his homosexuality, were written while he lived in Paris. He returned to the United States in 1957 and participated in the civil-rights movement, later returning to France where he lived for the remainder of his life.

Another Country (1962), a bitter novel about sexual relations and racial tension, received critical acclaim, as did the publication of the perceptive essays in The Fire Next Time (1963). His eloquence and unsparing honesty made Baldwin one of the most influential authors of his time.  Continue reading

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