Harriet Jacobs is often compared to Anne Frank, whose family hid in an attic from the Nazis for two years before they were captured and sent to the death camps.
Fortunately, Jacobs' story has a happier ending -- but not before this young runaway slave endured seven years hiding from her lecherous master in a crawl space above her grandmother's house in North Carolina.
In a desperate attempt to flee the violent man who was obsessed with her sexually and had threatened to sell her children, Harriet sought out the sanctuary in 1835. She was in her early 20s at the time and did not know she would live in that dark, coffin-like space for so many years. Food was passed up to her through a trap door, she had to contend with mice and rats scurrying over her, and tiny red insects feasted on her blood.
To make matters worse, Harriet could hear her two children's voices, being raised below by her grandmother, a freed slave.