Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
I read Incidents in the Life of A slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs for my Am. Lit. class. She suffered heartbreak of the worst kind, being separated from her two children and knowing that they, as young as they were, were being "broken" into the hard life of a plantation slave. Harriet eventually ran away and hid in a relative's extremely small dirt cellar where she lived for 7 yrs, hiding from her master. There was not even enough room for her to stand up. She crawled around on the dirt floor for exercise and endured rats and mice running over her at night as well as a painful, stinging, bug infestation, and many other discomforts. Her children lived in this home but she could not speak to them or even let them know she was there. A one-by-one inch hole was her sole source for light and air. She lived for the moments when she could see her children through that hole and hear their voices. Her heart ached with wanting to cry out to them, to hold them when they cried, to let them know she was alive.
Eventually Harriet was delivered from this situation and was reunited with her children and lived the rest of her life in freedom. I was utterly blown by Harriet's ability to forgive her enemies and not get sucked into a pit of bitter resentment. She had every reason to be bitter. She had every reason to hate all those who betrayed her and treated her worse than a dog. But she did not. She even remained optimistic, saying, "I trusted that some threads of joy would yet be woven into my dark destiny."
Harriet Jacobs, pray to God for us, that we too may walk, crawl or at least just collapse upon the road of forgiveness.