This article reads Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) alongside Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas (2017) to argue that both texts challenge the ideology of property ownership that has long been central to Black and Indigenous subjugation. By reading these texts through Cedric Robinson’s theorization of the Black Radical Tradition, which “never allowed for property,” this essay argues that both texts bring into being a world that precedes and exceeds the violence of legal regulation. Jacobs and Long Soldier both locate an alternative to law in the radical divinity of maternal care. Through Jacobs’s and Long Soldier’s discussions of holy maternal care, we can recognize the interrelation of Black and Indigenous freedom struggles in a way that’s not solely defined by shared subjugation.

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