Incidents of a Slave Girl

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Blacks Are More Than Just Oppressed

Ray John De Leon
Dr. Joseph
US History 2313
11 April 2013
In Harriet Jacobs’s narrative, Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl, she gives realistic and truthful descriptions of life as a slave. Although not all blacks in the South were slaves, they were still oppressed in many ways such as with discrimination and lacking certain freedoms. Of course, situations concerning the daily life of blacks in the south, enslaved or free, varied in different areas due to the different treatments of white masters, as well as white civilians. Some blacks had it more difficult than others. Whites in the South surely dominated and controlled society, but did they have total domination over blacks? Were the two races only relatable as oppressor and oppressed? Although one would believe so, there is much evidence in the Jacobs’s narrative that shows that blacks still had a few freedoms, even under the overbearing weight of slavery and racism. The truth of the matter is that even though some of their unalienable rights had been taken away, little freedom was at the tip of their fingers. Once discovering a way to grab on to that freedom, they could pull it in closer until it was entirely there own. Some evidence proving that blacks were not totally dominated by southern whites involves the situation of Jacobs’s father, the slave’s celebration of Christmas, and also the situation of Jacobs’s Uncle Benjamin. Jacobs described her father as an extraordinary man. “My father was a carpenter, and considered so intelligent and skillful in his trade, that, when buildings out of the common line were to be erected, he was sent for from long distances, to be head workman (11).” Her father, although being a slave, had his own trade to which his talent and diligence was certainly found. He, a black slave, was requested to be the headman of certain projects, even from long distances. That is very impressive considering that because slaves were considered...
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