Linda Brent Pseudonym for the author, Harriet Ann Jacobs. Linda is born a slave in North Carolina. She eventually escapes to the North after spending 27 years in slavery, including the seven years she spends hiding in her grandmother's attic.
Aunt Martha Pseudonym for Molly Horniblow, Jacobs' grandmother. Aunt Martha, Linda's grandmother, is a free woman who provides Linda with love, support, and spiritual guidance. A former slave, Aunt Martha starts her own bakery business in order to earn enough money to buy her two sons, Benjamin and Phillip. After saving $300, she lends the money to her mistress, who never repays her. As a result, Aunt Martha is forced to live with the knowledge that although she is free, her family remains enslaved.
Miss Fanny A white woman who grew up with Aunt Martha in the Flint household. Angry at Dr. Flint for attempting to sell Aunt Martha, who has served his family for over 20 years, Miss Fanny buys her for $50, then sets her free.
William Possibly a pseudonym for Jacobs' actual brother, John. William is Linda's younger brother. He protects Linda and actively supports her quest for freedom.
Ellen and Benny Pseudonyms for Louisa Matilda Jacobs and Joseph Jacobs, the author's children. Ellen and Benny are Linda's two children by her white lover, Mr. Sands.
Dr. Flint Pseudonym for Dr. James Norcom, Jacobs' master and tormentor. Obsessed with Linda, Dr. Flint relentlessly pursues her, forcing her to make some drastic decisions to avoid his physical and sexual control.
Mrs. Flint Pseudonym for Mary Matilda Horniblow Norcom. The wife of Dr. Flint, Mrs. Flint recognizes her husband's sexual pursuit of Linda, and she becomes increasingly more abusive toward her.
Emily Flint Daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Flint. When Linda's mistress dies, Linda (age 12) is given to Emily, who is five years old at the time.
Mr. and Mrs. Flint Dr. Flint's son and daughter-in-law. When Linda refuses to succumb to Dr. Flint's sexual advances, he sends her to work on his son's plantation, where her first assignment is to prepare the house for the arrival of the new Mrs. Flint.
Mr. Sands Pseudonym for Samuel Tredwell Sawyer, the white man who fathers Linda's two children.
Betty The "faithful old friend" who helps Linda hide at the home of her mistress.
Jenny The slave who threatens to betray Linda's hiding place in the house of her mistress. As a result, Linda is forced to hide in her grandmother's attic.
Peter The friend who helps Linda during her first escape attempt.
Mrs. Durham The white woman who befriends Linda in Philadelphia and hires her as a nurse to her child.
Mrs. Bruce (First) Pseudonym for Mary Stace Willis, first wife of Nathaniel Parker Willis, who befriends Linda in New York. Mrs. Bruce, an English woman who abhors slavery, employs Linda as a nurse for her daughter, Mary. She also works to protect Linda from Dr. Flint.
Mrs. Bruce (Second) Pseudonym for Cornelia Grinnell Willis, Nathaniel Parker Willis' second wife. The second Mrs. Bruce is an American who also abhors slavery. On two occasions when Linda goes into hiding, Mrs. Bruce entrusts her to take her own infant daughter with her, knowing that if Linda is caught, the baby will be returned to her, and she will be informed of Linda's whereabouts. The second Mrs. Bruce finally buys Linda's freedom for $300.