The true story of an individual’s struggle for self-identity, self-preservation, and freedom, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl remains among the few extant slave narratives written by a woman. This autobiographical account chronicles the remarkable odyssey of Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897) whose dauntless spirit and faith carried her from a life of servitude and degradation in North Carolina to liberty and reunion with her children in the North.
In the book, Jacobs addresses white Northern women who fail to comprehend the evils of slavery. She makes direct appeals to their humanity to expand their knowledge and influence their thoughts about slavery as an institution.
Jacobs composed Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl after her escape to New York, while living and working at Idlewild, the home of writer and publisher Nathaniel Parker Willis.