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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 Race Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Chapter.Paragraph

Quote #1

If God has bestowed beauty upon her, it will prove her greatest curse. That which commands admiration in the white woman only hastens the degradation of the female slave. (5.2)

Slavery turns everything upside down, including the value of beauty. Beautiful slave girls are more likely to become victims.

Quote #2

How had those years dealt with her slave sister, the little playmate of her childhood? She, also, was very beautiful; but the flowers and sunshine of love were not for her. She drank the cup of sin, and shame, and misery, whereof her persecuted race are compelled to drink. (5.6)

Here's another reason you can't blame Jacobs for her premarital sex: the major difference between black and white women is sexual autonomy. While the white child will go on to marry, have children, and live in a peaceful home, her black friend will likely be sexually pursued and enslaved her entire life.

Quote #3

They seem to satisfy their consciences with the doctrine that God created the Africans to be slaves. What a libel upon the heavenly Father, who "made of one blood all nations of men!" And then who are Africans? Who can measure the amount of Anglo-Saxon blood coursing in the veins of American slaves? (8.6)

Linda challenges ideas about racial purity by arguing that there is so much miscegenation (a fancy word for interracial sex) happening in America that it’s hard to tell white people from black people.

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