Most people know about Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Fredrick Douglass, but when students studied the life and heroism of Harriet Jacobs, they learned about a remarkable slave woman whose story is much less well known.

Students Study Life and Heroism of Harriet Jacobs

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In Jacobs’ 1861 autobiography, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” she told the story of enduring sexual harassment and abuse by a slave owner, and the seven years she hid herself in a cramped attic.  She also told of her effort to win freedom for herself and her children.  The book had a powerful effect upon white women in the abolitionist movement.

“Death is better than slavery” was one of the most powerful quotes from Jacobs’ book, said McKinley Hall, 17.

He and other juniors in his Advanced Placement American studies class created a project that reached outside the high school by developing a children’s picture book about Jacobs’ story and illustrating it.

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Students Study Life and Heroism of Harriet Jacobs

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