Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, Vol 5, No 2 (2009)

‘Rise Up, Ye Women’: Harriet Jacobs & the Bible

Emerson B. Powery
Issued Date: 14 Nov 2011

Abstract


Harriet Jacobs was the first female to write and publish a narrative about her earlier life in slavery. It is a story unlike any written by her male counterparts, especially as she details the psychological impact of the harrowing sexual exploitation of nineteenth-century antebellum enslavement. Her Incidents is full of citations of and allusions to the Bible, which she learned to read as a very young girl. She developed a strategy for interpreting the pages of the Bible to challenge commonly held southern interpretations that supported the slaveholding aristocracy surrounding her. Her appropriation of the Bible allowed her to defend her humanity and maintain her dignity.

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DOI: 10.1558/post.v5i2.171






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