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Harriet Jacobs in Abolitionist Movement - Essay Sample

3 pages
583 words
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
Course work
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Harriet Jacobs is one of the most celebrated individuals in abolitionism. In this movement to try and end slavery, she made a great contribution to her various written forms of literature. Harriet was first of all raised in a slave environment. However, her mistress was unconditionally very kind to her. This was unusual for most slaves in America. Most mistresses treated their slaves with utmost hate and indignation. However, For Jacobs case, she was taught how to read and write while she also received a wide array of freedom as children. However, after her mistress died, she was left to another master. This master was not as her previous master since he greatly mistreated her. To begin with, she went through a lot of mistreatment in her masters hand including sexual abuse which prompted her to become an author and begin a process of freeing herself from the jaws of such pain. At the time when she began to write to deliver herself from the sexual abuse, she had already been abused for a long period which proved for her be very hard for her to sustain.

The first contribution that she made to the abolitionist movement was that of recognizing that their masters were mistreating them and there was a life they deserved. This can be depicted from one of her statements in her books to depict a moment when she did not have any of those troubles. "and, though we were all slaves, I was so fondly shielded that I never dreamed that I was a piece of merchandise." (Jacobs 47). This statement proves that there was a different type of life that the slaves lived that was different from that of freed men. Apparently, at the time of the slavery, slaves were not being considered as human beings. This implied that they would have to go through a lot of vilification from their masters some of which was very inhumane to start with. Therefore, Harriet began a movement that would recognize all the suffering they were going through and seek to bring a change. In another text, she also states that "it was something to triumph over my tyrant in that small way," (Jacobs 29). This was a statement made in one of her texts to try and push for the redemption of black Americans from slavery. She made this to imply that they had to fight for their freedom and fight for it in a great way.

In conclusion, Harriet made very important contributions to the abolitionist movement. One of the greatest contributions was that of recognizing the fact that slaves were being treated in an inhumane way. She also made statements to imply that it would be possible for the whites to treat them better. This is because she was also treated in a very appropriate way at the beginning when she was a small girl. Her ability to write up very good literal works got developed through the kindness of her first master who gave her the freedom to learn how to read and to write. Harriet also contributed to the movement by motivating the African Americans that they have a fight before them and it was possible for them to conquer the forces that were against the movement. All these were great contributions which summed up to provide freedom to the African Americans after the civil war.

Works Cited

Jacobs, Harriet Ann. Incidents in the life of a slave girl: Written by herself. Vol. 119. Harvard University Press, 2009.


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