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Born a slave, When he was only six or seven years old, Singleton ran all the way from Atlanta to the North Carolina plantation where his mother lived.
Harriet Jacobs was a remarkable woman who was born into slavery in 1813 in Edenton, North Carolina, and died free in Washington, D.C., at the age of eighty-four. In her writing, she put an individual face on major social and political events of her era, particularly one of the most inhumane aspects of enslaved womanhood, sexual abuse and molestation by white men. After escaping from her master, she spent seven long years enduring great discomfort in the space she called “my dismal little hole,” a 9’ x 7’ x 3’ crawlspace above the porch of her grandmother, emerging only occasionally late at night to try to walk.
Poet Naomi Shihab Nye reads her poem "Gate A-4" as part of "Incredible Bridges: Poets Creating Community," a project developed by the Academy of American Poets in partnership with EDSITEment, the educational website of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), during the NEH’s 50th anniversary year-long celebration.
Elizabeth Keckly was a remarkable woman who was born into slavery in 1818 just south of the major market center of Petersburg, Virginia. She learned her craft—sewing—from her mother, who was an expert seamstress enslaved in the Burwell family. When Reverend Burwell, Keckly’s master and half-brother (they shared a father) relocated to Hillsborough, North Carolina, in 1832, she soon followed. Six years later, Anna Burwell, Keckly’s mistress, started a school for young girls in the family home, with an already over-worked Keckly charged as the sole servant.
Slave narratives are a unique American literary genre in which former slaves tell about their lives in slavery and how they acquired their freedom. Henry “Box” Brown escaped from slavery by having himself shipped in a crate (hence, the nickname “Box”) from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1849.
"Aunt Chloe" is a character created by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, a 19th-century literary phenomenon who expressed her social and political views through poetry, novels, short stories, and speeches.