Monday, June 17, 2013

Harriet Ann Jacobs is on my mind

I purchased a bunch of books for Kelsey's Kindle the other day for my sweet voracious reader.  When I do this, I always put some of the free classics on there as well, for me to read.  I downloaded a book called Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself the other day and I have been reading it when I feed Kenna.

It was written by Harriet Ann Jacobs (February 11, 1813 – March 7, 1897) and was published in 1861under the pseudonym Linda Brent.  She escaped from slavery and became an abolitionist speaker and reformer. The book was one of the first autobiographical narratives about the struggle for freedom by female slaves and an account of the sexual harassment and abuse they endured.

There is one portion of the book I read today that made me think about my sweet children.  The background to this quote is that her 5 year old son, 1 year old daughter, and teenage brother are in jail because she ran away and hid in order for her master to sell her kids to a slavetrader she had previously set up to buy them.  Her master had a definate obsession with her, and she felt the only way to get her children out of slavery was for her to run away, therefore infuriating her master into selling her children.  The father to the children was a free man, and the slavetrader had arrangements to buy their two children and then sell them to the free father.

The 19 year old slave woman is hiding in a kind white woman's attic and gets reports from the cook every day.  When she learns her master has put both her children in jail in order to bait her to come back, she struggles with the cook to go to the jail and save her babies.  Betty the cook, who never had children, tells her to stay put and it will all work out.  These are the author's thoughts from page 156:

"Good old soul! She had gone through the world childless. She had never had little ones to clasp their arms round her neck; she had never seen their soft eyes looking into hers; no sweet little voices had called her mother; she had never pressed her own infants to her heart, with the feeling that even in fetters there was something to live for. How could she realize my feelings?"

Kenna has the sweetest habit of putting her arms tight around my neck whenever I hold her in front of a mirror.  Its as if she likes to see the two of us so tightly together.  It makes her smile, me smile, and it makes my heart melt.
I love looking into Kelsey's deep brown eyes and see so much love and compassion and goodness.
I love looking into Kendal's beautiful blue eyes and seeing the mischief and fun that fills her eyes and the love she has for life.
Even though Emmitt is 4 years old, he still loves to be held like a little tiny boy, tight to my chest, and snuggle without trying to get away. 

They are all precious to me, and I can not imagine life without one of them.  There are all kinds of love, but the love of a mother goes so deep.  It is not easy for me to express, but I feel it most ardently and deeply.  I wish I could put my feelings into words, but I am not capable.

So, I just hold them a little closer and a little longer, and thank Heaven they are mine.  I am grateful they are mine, and will not be taken away from me like the children of so many mothers in the ugly past of slavery.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Think I am gonna read that book, sounds interesting.



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