Book of Harriet: The Disambiguation of Five North Carolinian Siblings 1840-1941
*Designated as an exemplary master's project for 2015-16*This paper is a work of creative nonfiction that adopts the first-person narrative voice of Harriet Smith (c. 1819-1873) in order to recount the biographies of her five children, all of whom were born slaves belonging to the Smiths, a prominent Orange County, North Carolina family. The four youngest siblings were simultaneously Smith slaves and Smith progeny who continued to live and work on the same plantation post-Emancipation as did many enslaved children who were fathered by their American owners. However, the interrelationships between Harriet, her children, and the Smiths were atypical of the era and region. Harriet’s four daughters were reared in the main plantation home by their white aunt, the very mistress whom they—and Harriet—served. History marginalized all of them until Harriet’s great-granddaughter, the Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray, published her 1956 familial memoir Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family. Murray’s memoir chronicles the life of Harriet’s eldest daughter and the family into which she married with contextual mentions of Harriet, her other four children, and the people with whom they made families. Despite their collective historical significance in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, little scholarship exists regarding these individuals, their interrelated lives, and their remarkable life stories. Written to reflect Murray’s seminal example, this narrative spotlights Harriet and all five of her children, illuminates the many accomplishments of a disremembered family of color, and contextualizes their inimitable lives during a divisive yet transformative century.
North Carolina slaves, slavery, and freedpeople
Orange County slaves, slavery, and freedpeople
Julius Smith, Cornelia Smith Fitzgerald, Annette Smith Kirby, Emma Smith Morphis, Laura Smith Toole
Nineteenth-century Durham County, Orange County, Chatham County, Mecklenburg County
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Graduate Liberal Studies
Works are deposited here by their authors, and represent their research and opinions, not that of Duke University. Some materials and descriptions may include offensive content. More info
Showing items related by title, author, creator, and subject.
Assessing the well water quality in a rural Georgia county: Do Washington County citizens need to worry? Hitchcock, Kristen (2008-08-27)Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, public water sources must be monitored for contaminants; and the results are made public. However, this Act does not cover private wells, leaving a significant portion of the population ...
Drosophila muller f elements maintain a distinct set of genomic properties over 40 million years of evolution. Leung, Wilson; Shaffer, Christopher D; Reed, Laura K; Smith, Sheryl T; Barshop, William; Dirkes, William; Dothager, Matthew; ... (1014 authors) (G3 (Bethesda, Md.), 2015-03-04)The Muller F element (4.2 Mb, ~80 protein-coding genes) is an unusual autosome of Drosophila melanogaster; it is mostly heterochromatic with a low recombination rate. To investigate how these properties impact the evolution ...
Thompson, Austin (2018-04-27)Climate change presents considerable risk for coastal communities in the southeastern United States, driving adaptive processes, like beach nourishment, with multi-million-dollar price tags. The municipalities of Dare County, ...