• Michelle Smith

Amazing Melanated Mommies: 12

Updated: Apr 18, 2019

While African American history is too extraordinary to be summed up in a year, let alone a month, we will be celebrating phenomenal women who changed the world as we see it now all while raising children. If they can do it, so can we. Lets do it!!!

Harriet Ann Jacobs was an African American writer who escaped from slavery and was later freed, becoming an abolitionist speaker and reformer. She wrote an autobiography, Incidents of a Slave Girl, under the pseudonym Linda Brent. This was one of the first books to address the struggle for freedom by female slaves, explore their struggles with sexual harassment and abuse, and their effort to protect their roles as women and mothers. Born into slavery in Edenton North Carolina, Jacobs was no stranger to hardships, and ran away to escape slavery for this very reason. Jacobs hid in the home of a slave owner in Edenton to keep an eye on her children. After a short stay, she took refuge in a swamp, then hid in a crawl space above the ceiling of her grandmother Molly's shack. Jacobs lived for seven years in her grandmother's attic before escaping in 1842 to the North by boat to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jacob’s children were fathered by a white man who had purchased their two children, so that they could live with Jacobs' grandmother but they were not freed. The state had made manumission difficult following the Nat Turner Rebellion of 1831. While in hiding, Jacobs had glimpses of her children from the attic and could hear their voices. Eventually Jacobs was reunited with her children and her brother who had had also escaped from slavery. Encouraged by an abolitionist by the name of Amy Post, Jacobs gave her personal account of being a slave and now a fugitive, along with the obligations that naturally comes along with black woman and mother. Salute Harriet Ann Jacobs.

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