Harriet Davis is Addy Walker's classmate.
Personality and Facts
Harriet is a free black girl; unlike Addy and Sarah, she has been free her entire life. She comes from a very well to do family and has enough money so that Harriet owns many different fancy dresses and can go out for ice cream on a whim. She has the kind of life Addy pictured having in freedom. Harriet is named after Harriet Tubman and knows her own birthday. She has both parents and an unnamed uncle, but no siblings are named.
Harriet is smug, braggy, proud, and boastful; she knows that many of her classmates are poor and uneducated former enslaved people, but rather than sympathizing with their past she looks down on them for not being as well off or educated as she is. Harriet will follow authority figures if expected to or confronted, she is still quite defiant and often acts as if she's the smartest or best person and only her ideas are valid. She does seem to become less haughty and more kind as the series progresses, but is still something of a braggart and an antagonist to Addy.
Originally, Harriet was illustrated as a very pale skinned girl by Melodye Rosales; when the books were reillustrated by Dahl Taylor, she was given a darker skin tone that no longer reflected the colorism.
In The Books
Addy Learns a Lesson: A School Story
Harriet is first introduced when she is made Addy's desk partner in a reshuffling of seating by Miss Dunn. Addy is impressed with her as she has the image of life Addy expected in freedom. Harriet asks Addy if she knows the alphabet and disparages Sarah, saying that Addy was paired with Harriet because she is the smartest in the class. She is quite condescending to Addy and helps with her schoolwork over the weeks, but does not engage with Addy outside of class.
After school one day, Addy sees Harriet ahead of her, and tries to catch up; Sarah doesn't want to catch up with her. Harriet hears her and snaps that she doesn't want Sarah to walk with her but says that Addy can come along if she likes. She also says that Sarah isn't her boss and that she can walk with her whenever she likes.
At school on a later day, Miss Dunn discusses the war. Harriet says that her mother does volunteer nursing. When Sarah says she wishes there wasn't a war, Harriet tells Sarah she should be grateful because it's freeing slaves like she used to be. Miss Dunn tells Harriet that will be enough, as nearly every colored person used to be a slave. Harriet brags that her family has always been free. Miss Dunn speaks of lines between people and then tells Harriet that people don't need to cause any more lines to be drawn. The class agrees, and Miss Dunn then addresses Harriet directly. Harriet mumbles "yes" embarrassingly.
As the class lines up to go see soldiers march, Harriet asks Addy what her decision is and teases that she would have ask Sarah's permission. Addy says she doesn't have to ask any permission and that she'll walk home with her which satisfies Harriet. At the station when Addy talks about her brother, Harriet ignores her and instead talks about her uncle in the Third Infantry.
Addy walks home with Harriet. Harriet says that the girls have been going to her house to study and that Addy might be allowed to go. She then hands her books to Addy and the other girls do the same. Harriet tells Addy she has to be their flunky and when Addy asks what that is, Harriet says Addy "just got off the plantation" and shoots a sly look toward Mavis. She says Addy has to pass a test to be friends with Harriet and her clique, because she's a new girl. When Addy asks what she must do Harriet says she can't tell, because it would be cheating. When they arrive at Mrs. Ford's dress shop, the girls and Harriet take their books and leave; Harriet doesn't even look at Addy.
Happy Birthday, Addy!: A Springtime Story
Harriet knows her exact birthday, unlike Addy. On the day of it, her mother had sent fancy raisin tarts for the whole class.