Black History Month Report: Harriet Jacobs

Wednesday we kicked off our series of reports in honor of “Black History Month” shining the spotlight on an Eastern Carolina woman who hid in an attic for nearly seven years waiting for her chance for freedom.

The year was1813. The woman was Harriett Jacobs. Jacobs was born into slavery in the town of Edenton, Chowan County. Her life story was much like that of any slave during that time, but it was upon hearing of an underground railroad to freedom that Jacobs began to write a new chapter to her story.

That chapter included an escape plan. Jacobs hid in a small attic above her grandmother’s house for six years and eleven months, waiting for the perfect opportunity to join hundreds of others who made their way toward a new life.

She eventually escaped from by way of the maritime underground railroad and was inspired to write about her autobiography called “Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl."

That book, written under a pen name initially to protect Jacobs and her family, is now considering by many among most riveting accounts of slave life.

You can find an exhibit honoring Jacobs at the Edenton Visitor Center throughout the month of February.


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  • by Historical Correct Location: North Carolina on Feb 14, 2012 at 08:21 PM
    Harriet Jacobs is a historical incorrect myth. This what happens when liberals take over teaching history in America. Waste of tax money. How about teaching the kids about the Founding Fathers and the Constitution or the Pledge of Allegiance. Lexington or Concord anybody?
  • by Millie Location: NC on Feb 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM
    Looks like to me some Blacks do not need a month when they get what they want everyday at the tax payer's expense.The amazing thing is they get freebies all of the time: Free phones, free food, free medical ect. Yet, they are the ones committing most of the crimes. They steal and rob and personally I do not know why because the government gives them so much already they do not pay for. It just seems like to me they are starting to run this country and I personally do not think it is right.
  • by monique on Feb 5, 2012 at 04:35 AM
    People in Greenville are so racist. There is absolutely no need to have a white history month! But really, its 2012 and there is no reason why things like I'm reading here should be said. It's very disturbing personally. Black people were not allowed to attend predominately white colleges. I attend a HBCU because I want an education. There is an experience that I love about my school (NC A&T SU) that I just wouldn't have at Ecu. I love it. My parents both went to a HBCU. I did get into ECU, State, and UNC and I was offered a full ride at two of those. But I chose A&T. My parents are paying for my education. I wanted the HBCU experience and I love it. I'm thankful for the people that set the way for us. I take black history month very seriously.
  • by dzinerdog Location: Edenton on Feb 2, 2012 at 04:42 PM
    Great Job !!! It encouraging to see a story about real people, and how they have dealt with such a horrible time in North Carolina's past. I'm sure for every story discovered, it will lead to many more to be found. Congratulations to WITN, and your story hounds!!! SHOW US MORE!! As far as the "un"-rest of you, take your racist remarks and fry them up twice!! Then wait for your history to pass. Know-one will even remember you.
  • by Black in America Location: Williamston on Feb 2, 2012 at 12:33 PM
    I did not post here to talk about something I know nothing about. I am over 60 years old. My mother told me about my grandmothers fight. My grandfather was a slave. They were highly intelligent people. Those who oppose something as Black History Month are slave owner descendant other wise why would you care.
  • by robert lee Location: washington on Feb 2, 2012 at 09:23 AM
    witn why is this up here black history month is a joke who cares
  • by Local on Feb 2, 2012 at 09:10 AM
    Great job Keith Furlough in your interview! This has to be your dream job talking about the subject you love!
  • by Local Educator on Feb 2, 2012 at 09:07 AM
    The first thing I want to say is I am white and I read and loved this book. I find it especially wonderful because the book is set right here in eastern NC. Many of you say Black History should be part of U. S. History and you are right but it is often not recognized in history books. If you want to have your heritage recognized petition your government representatives to make a law. March is Women's History Month, November is Native American History month, June is Caribbean-American History Month and the list goes on. Encourage your local newspaper and WITN to spotlight those months that may apply to you. It is what it is until you make it better! Just stop whining about Black History Month and listen you may learn something.
  • by Fred on Feb 2, 2012 at 08:25 AM
    This post will probably not make it to the site due to political correctness. Slavery was the BEST thing that ever happened to today's black person. Slavery was a terrible crime against humanity. However, without it where would today's black person be? He or she might be in the USA, but the numbers would be far fewer. They might be in Europe where they are not given the rights that we have here. More than likely the black ancestors of the slaves who were brought here would be living in poverty in Africa. There is a good chance they would starve or be killed by a rival faction. Would the American Black person want to trade places with these poor people. I think not. Slavery was terrible but was the best thing ever for today's American Blacks.
  • by me on Feb 2, 2012 at 07:59 AM
    Look at the front page news every day and you will see black History and black future. Not just if February.
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