February 11, 2019
Harriet peered out of the peephole, her only access to the outside world. She watched as their daughter climbed into the carriage. He was supposed to free her, not take her away. It was at that moment Harriet decided nothing would stop her from escaping her prison, breaking free of the chains of slavery forever, for her and her children.
Harriet Ann Jacobs was born into slavery in Edenton, North Carolina, on February 11, 1813. She lived with her parents, Elijah Knox and Delilah Horniblow, and brother John, in their own home despite them having different owners. When Delilah died, six-year-old Harriet moved in with her mother's mistress, Margaret Horniblow, who had been raised with and loved Delilah dearly.
Under questionable circumstances, Harriet became the property of Mary Norcom, Margaret’s 5-year-old niece, when Margaret died in 1825. Thanks to Margaret’s sister, Harriet’s grandmother, Molly Horniblow, obtained her freedom at the same time. Harriet’s father attempted to buy her freedom several times, but those dreams died along with him a year later.
Harriet grew up surrounded by those who loved her. Margaret treated her more as a daughter than a slave, teaching Harriet reading, writing, sewing, and Scripture. However, Dr. James Norcom, Mary’s father and Harriet’s master de facto, impressed in Harriet’s mind she was his property to do his will. His wife echoed the sentiment, treating Harriet horribly.
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