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Memoirs tell important stories.

Harriet Jacobs, whose memoir was the first book-length autobiography written by a formerly enslaved African American woman, died in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 1897. By then, she was in her 80s and had spent her life working to make the United States less hostile for more people. Her landmark book, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” gave a firsthand account of the sexual exploitation that the United States used to build its wealth. It highlighted the brutality of slavery, aiming to inspire more Americans to join the abolitionist cause. But it did more than that. By tackling both racial and sexual violence, Jacobs paved the way for women who are confronting, surviving and alleviating both today. Modern activists and advocates walk down the path she forged when she insisted that American injustice “is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women.”

My memoir “The Hungarian Girl” will be published by She Writes Press In June 2024. (The name may change.)

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