Books: Reader, My Story Ends with Freedom

Biographies of two women who fought slavery in the 1800s--and one who escaped it in 2000

Of all the women who endured slavery in this country, only one wrote a book-length account of her life. Her name was Harriet Jacobs, and her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, has one of the more satisfyingly tart closing lines in American literature. Instead of ending with marriage, she writes, "Reader, my story ends with freedom." But Jacobs' story--and the lives of other women who had been enslaved--did not end with freedom. Nor did their troubles.

Harriet Jacobs: A Life (Basic Civitas Books; 394 pages), by Jean Fagan Yellin, is the first biography of Jacobs, and...

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