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PHOTO ESSAY

Women and Literature

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Harriet Jacobs

Courtesy of University of North Carolina.

Not many African American women had the opportunities of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. In the post-Emancipation era the slave narrative, autobiography, and memoir were the main literary forms available to black women of letters. Among the most important is Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs. Thought for years to be a novel written by a white woman, its true authorship and autobiographical context was only discovered in the late 1980s by the scholar Jean Fagin Yellin.

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