This essay revisits a familiar but seldom discussed anecdote of same-sex sexual abuse in the archive of Atlantic slavery: the story of Luke in Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861). Through a close reading of Luke’s story, the article advances three claims: (1) the history of slavery is also a history of same-sex sexual terror, (2) the sexual terror of slavery included reproductive sexual violence but was not limited to it, and (3) Incidents is ultimately a story about sexual terror and protest against it in the form of fugitivity. In making these arguments, the article intervenes into current conversations in the feminist historiography of slavery, capitalism, and reproduction and contributes to emerging work on same-sex sexual relations in the context of enslavement. It closes with a short reflection on the stakes of Luke’s story for historiography on sexuality.

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