Student Activity

Harriet Jacobs: 9 Feet Long and 7 Wide

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.

Harriet Jacobs: 9 Feet Long and 7 Wide