Our Nig by "Our Nig"

Harriet Wilson was probably much more interested in telling her own story in this autobiographical novel than in re-writing Stowe's, and yet, as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., puts it, her text can be read as "a complex response to Uncle Tom's Cabin."* It some respects it evokes the story Stowe's novel chose not to narrate: the experiences and opinions of Topsy in New England. As a victim of racism and abuse at the hands of a white woman, Frado (or "Nig") poses a direct challenge to Stowe's valorizations of the domestic and the feminine. Although in her Preface Wilson denies any desire to "palliate slavery at the South," her emphasis on the sufferings of a nominally "free black" in the North was a theme repeatedly developed by the white pro-slavery authors of the ANTI-TOM NOVELS that also contested Stowe's ideological assumptions. Some of those novels were popular. This novel, on the other hand, was apparently ignored when it first appeared, and remained invisible until 1982.
Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, In a Two-Story White House, North. Showing that Slavery's Shadows Fall Even There. By "Our Nig" (Mrs. H. E. Wilson). [Boston: Printed by Geo. C. Rand & Avery, 1859)
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1 -- Mag Smith, My Mother
  • Chapter 2 -- My Father's Death
  • Chapter 3 -- A New Home for Me
  • Chapter 4 -- A Friend for Nig
  • Chapter 5 -- Departures
  • Chapter 6 -- Varieties
  • Chapter 7 -- Spiritual Condition of Nig
  • Chapter 8 -- Visitor and Departure
  • Chapter 9 -- Death
  • Chapter 10 -- Perplexities, Another Death
  • Chapter 11 -- Marriage Again
  • Chapter 12 -- The Winding Up of the Matter
  • Appendix

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