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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl


by Harriet Jacobs

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Family Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Chapter.Paragraph

Quote #4

Alas, what mockery it is for a slave mother to try to pray back her dying child to life! Death is better than slavery. (11.17)

Here's one of the worst things about slavery: Linda may have prayed for her children to live, but she wasn't entirely happy when they survived.

Quote #5

[S]laveholders have been cunning enough to enact that “the child shall follow the condition of the mother,” not of the father; thus taking care that licentiousness shall not interfere with avarice. (14.3)

In other words, sex between a white woman and a black man might be a crime, but a white man's rape of a black woman is just a good investment.

Quote #6

What tangled skeins are the genealogies of slavery! (14.11)

Slaveholders liked to argue that slavery was okay because slaves were racially inferior. Not so fast, Jacobs says. Many slaves are actually of mixed ancestry, and so this slaveholder logic is… not very logical.

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