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.

Monday, March 23, 2015

#SalonsatStowe: Meet the Featured Guests!

Join us this Thursday for our March Salon: "Women's Rights = Human Rights?" The program will focus on the ways "women's issues" can be championed by individuals of all genders. Leading the program will be Susan Campbell (moderator), Carolyn Treiss, and Kyle Turner. Learn more about the featured guests below!

Susan Campbell 
Stowe Center trustee, Author

Susan Campbell is a Stowe Center trustee and award-winning author of Dating Jesus, and the biography, Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker.For more than a quarter-century, she was a columnist at the Hartford Courant, where her work was recognized by the National Women's Political Caucus, New England Associated Press News Executives, the Society for Professional Journalists, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the Sunday Magazine Editors Association. Her column about the shootings at lottery headquarters in March 1998 was part of The Courant's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage.

The mother of two adult sons, and the grandmother of seven, she has a bachelor's degree from University of Maryland, and a master's degree from Hartford Seminary, and she lives in Connecticut with her husband.

Carolyn Treiss
Executive Director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women

As Executive Director, Carolyn Treiss is responsible for administration, major strategic initiatives, budgeting, and mandate compliance, and is the Commission’s main liaison to other State agencies and branches of government. Treiss, who holds a J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law, an M.S.W. from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and a B.A. in political science and Russian from Bates College, brings to the PCSW a background in public policy, social services and grassroots advocacy. Her passion for women’s rights activism was sparked after college as a volunteer for NARAL Pro-Choice CT, and her commitment to women’s rights issues grew during a graduate school internship in which she advocated in the Connecticut General Assembly for victims of sexual assault. Since then, Treiss has served as director of NARAL Pro-Choice CT, Chief of Staff at the Office of Health Care Access, Legislative Program Manager for the Department of Social Services, and most recently as Policy Director for the Connecticut Senate Democratic Caucus. Believing in public service to her community, she has served on both her local Town Council and Board of Education. As a mother of two school-aged sons, she is committed to teaching her boys about the breadth and depth of women’s roles at home, in the workplace and in the community.

Student, University of Hartford

Kyle Turner is freelance writer, editor, and full time student. He's the chief editor of Movie Mezzanine's blog, The Balcony. He began writing on the internet in 2007 with his blog The Movie Scene. Since then, he has contributed to TheBlackMaria.org, Film School Rejects, Under the Radar, and IndieWire's /Bent. He is studying cinema at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

Are you coming to the Salon? What do you plan to ask? Let us know below!

Friday, March 20, 2015

163rd Anniversary of Uncle Tom's Cabin

On March 20, 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe's famed anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was first published. The novel, detailing the stories of enslaved characters Tom, Eliza, and George, transcended time and place, becoming an international hit and literary classic. More than just a book, Stowe's words served as a call to action to readers to recognize and ultimately take up the abolitionist cause. Stowe's novel caused such a stir that President Lincoln declared to Stowe "So you're the little woman who started this great war." The great war being the U.S. Civil War, fought over slavery, and the trigger of the war being, Uncle Tom's Cabin.

What books have caused you to change your views? What about films, television shows, or movies? Why do you think Uncle Tom's Cabin made such an impact? 

Have you read Uncle Tom's Cabin? If not come over to the Stowe Center to pick up a copy in our museum store. Then head out on a tour of the Stowe House to learn about what led Stowe to write the book as well as its historical and contemporary impact. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day, Stowe, and Food Justice

Though celebrated around the world, Americans, whether Irish or not, love St. Patrick's day more than most. But despite the popularity of St. Patrick's day, Irish history, including the story of why many Irish-Americans came to the United States, is absent from history curriculums.

One of the darkest and misunderstood periods of Irish history is undoubtedly the potato famine, where an estimated one million Irish citizens died and an additional million fled the country (to places like the U.S) in a period of mass starvation and destitution. The potato famine, which lasted from 1845-1852, is largely understood as a natural disaster- that is the deaths were a result of widespread blight that affected potatoes. And while the blight contributed, political decisions, including the mass exportation of other food crops, like grain, eggs, flour, and cattle by British landlords, exasperated the situation, and turned a one-crop disease into a manufactured phenomena of economic exploitation and marginalization.  

Illustration of Irish potato famine

Elements of the Irish potato famine can be seen today in global food systems. Though enough food is produced for all of the world's 7 billion people, much like enough food existed in Ireland at the time of the famine, 1 in 8 people still go hungry. The existence of hunger is a result of inequities in the production and distribution of food. Globalization has allowed individuals with means to access food from all over the world, yet many of the individuals cultivating this food can not afford or access it themselves.

How can we use lessons from the Irish potato famine to compel contemporary food justice? Though most known for anti-slavery advocacy, Harriet Beecher Stowe was a champion of early environmental and food justice causes and even supported local, "fair trade" general stores. Is buying local and "fair trade" food a solution to larger inequities in food distribution? How can we create a more equitable global food system? 

Come to the Stowe Center to experience the new Stowe House experience aimed at using the story of Stowe to encourage positive change and social justice. Whether you care about food justice, education, or abolitionism come and share your thoughts!