Harriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

In her discussion of 19th-century African American women writers, Carla Peterson argues that black women such as Harriet Jacobs had difficulty telling their own story in a way that allowed them to take ownership over their own bodies, sexuality, and identities. In their stories, African American women had to “normalize” the black body, as Peterson calls it, performing a black-faced version of true womanhood. Write a blog in which you explore to what extent Jacobs in writing her autobiography for a largely white Christian female abolitionist audience engages in this normalization of the black female body? To what extent is she writing a “double-voiced” texts that both places her story within the context of “true womanhood” but challenges these gender assumptions?