Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

For updates on Stowe Center programs and events, sign up for our enews at http://harrietbeecherstowe.org/email.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

#IllRideWithYou Goes Viral Amid Sydney Hostage Crisis

In a week highlighted by terror attacks in Sydney and Pakistan that left numerous unarmed civilians and children dead, a small piece of solace emerged on Twitter. After an unarmed gunman stormed a cafe in the city center of Sydney, Australia and raised an Islamic flag in the shop's window, many members of Australia's Muslim population feared retribution toward their community. Yet, these fears may have been assuaged, as Australians quickly reacted with "I'll Ride With You," a Twitter hashtag aimed at letting individuals identifying as Muslim know that they have committed allies when riding on public transportation. The hashtag erupted and for several hours remained as the number one global trend.    

What do you think of the power of the hashtag? Can a tweet like "I'll Ride With You" combat Islamophobia? Can social media activism procure more equitable and just communities? Does empathy on the screen translate to the empathy off the screen?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Socially Conscious Gifts for a More #Just World

Still have some last minute holiday shopping to do? Check out New York Times journalist and Stowe Prize winner Nick Kristof's "Gifts that Reflect the Spirit of the Season." In the piece, Kristof highlights creative organizations working to reduce poverty, empower marginalized individuals, or improve education around the globe.     

Through the gift-giving guide, Kristof draws attention lesser-known organizations like Reach Out and Read, a program that partners with medical professionals to encourage early-childhood literacy. 

 What do you think of Kristof's suggestions? While the holiday season is a ripe time for giving, as seen by campaigns such as #GivingTuesday, how can we spread this charitable spirit throughout the year? 

Looking for ways to teach about #Ferguson? Check out #FergusonSyllabus

Since the death of Michael Brown in August, teachers, parents, and community organizers have been searching for ways to best educate young people about difficult issues of race, profiling, and police violence. From this challenge, emerged #FergusonSyllabus, a Twitter hashtag used to collect books and articles that dictate creative and accessible lessons on race. Georgetown University Professor Marcia Chatelain created the hashtag as a way to facilitate conversation among educators on ways to teach on the events in Ferguson and larger issues of discrimination and brutality. The hashtag gained traction and soon elicited direct action through the creation of #FergusonFreedomLibrary, a social media call encouraging teachers, students, and activists to donate applicable books to prisons, schools, or community organizations. Of the hashtag, Professor Chatelain writes "A hashtag cannot address structural mistrust, public negligence, poverty and unemployment. But the incredible educators who have shared their resources and ideas with #FergusonSyllabus do have the power to move us closer to reconciliation, a greater commitment of justice and conversations that are long overdue."

What do you think of #FergusonSyllabus and the use of Twitter to engage teachers and students? Does it work? In the new Stowe House experience, we seek to facilitate conversations on difficult subjects by using primary source documents, inquiry-based dialogue, and multimedia presentations.  What do you think are the best tactics to invite conversation and questioning on difficult subjects?