Our Nig: or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (Kobo eBook)
Harriet E. Wilson is the first female African American to publish a novel in North America. Her first and only work, “Our Nig: Sketches from the Life of a Free Black” was first published in 1859. Considered lost until 1982 when it was rediscovered by scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., the novel is largely autobiographical, tracking the life of a free black women in the Antebellum North. At the age of three, the protagonist Frado is abandoned by her parents and left at the house of the Bellmonts, a wealthy New England family. Her life as a free black woman in the North is filled with hardship and suffering. This realistic tale sugar coats nothing, and the reader witnesses Frado’s difficult life as a servant to the family. A groundbreaking work of gender and race identity, Wilson creates a tremendous narrative central to African American history which helped to begin a tradition of African American literature in America.