Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself

This book is a free book available for Kindle and as there are so few memoirs of slaves written by themselves, I couldn't resist. You most likely know it was illegal to teach slaves to read and write and those who did learn usually kept that fact secret. This slave, however, as a house slave had access to reading materials and read especially newspapers and the Bible all her life to give pertinent news to other slaves.

Her name was Linda. She was owned by the very young daughter of a doctor, but the doctor treated her as his own. She resisted his attempts to seduce her and managed to evade his direct orders to make her body available to him at will. She was quite valuable since she had light skin (the daughter of mullatoes) so he didn't dare lessen her value in any way.

Eventually she was seduced by a white man who she trusted; he had convinced her he would buy her and set her free. She had two children by him which of course infuriated Dr. Flint, her owner's father. When the children are still quite young, she finds herself in such danger that she must leave her children with her aged grandmother in order to escape. She spends many years hidden in an attic of a shed where she is unable to stand up before she is able to escape to the North.

Linda's story is one of courage and heartbreak, a story of almost unendurable physical and mental abuse and hardship, but throughout a story of a woman's pride despite being a slave and her devotion to her family, particularly her children. It is also the story of the courage of people willing to help her and her children. I found it as page-turning as a mystery novel and even more frightening since it was a true story.

I recommend this free book to Kindle owners.


  1. This one sounds interesting. But if I had slaves, I would also do my best to keep them illiterate! Much easier to control people that way.

  2. This sounds important, but I don't think I could stand reading it! Grrrrrr!

  3. Wow! I didn't realize there were any diaries written by slaves. I'll have to grab this one.

  4. Free and kindle are two words that are like red flags to me. I've learned the hard way that just because it's free and on my handy-dandy kindle doesn't mean it's good. However, many of them are excellent. This one looks like one of those. I'm off to check it out.

  5. I think I left a comment here yesterday, but now is the time for me to wish you and your family a merry Christmas!

  6. Barbara...Wanted to stop by to wish you a wonderful Holiday; hope it means special time with family and friends.

  7. Thanks everyone for the comments. I've been busy with Dave's health issues the past few days so haven't had time for the computer.

    Jill, I had a feeling this would really make your hair stand on end.

    Margot, I haven't gotten too many free books on Kindle yet because I still much prefer reading print books, but so far I haven't been burned. Just finished a free mystery that was very good; will review soon.

    Thanks for the holiday wishes everyone and the same back at you. Ours is kind of a bummer this year since Dave is sick but the sun is shining and things will get better.