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.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

"Fruitvale Station"

2013 Stowe Prize Winner Michelle Alexander has raised questions around issues of mass incarceration and the plight of black men in her book The New Jim Crow. So, too, does a recent film Fruitvale Station.

Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, director Ryan Coogler's FRUITVALE STATION follows the true story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being better son to his mother (Octavia Spencer), whose birthday falls on New Year's Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz), who he hasn't been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to Tatiana (Ariana Neal), their beautiful four year-old daughter. Crossing paths with friends, family and strangers, Oscar starts out well, as the day goes on, he realizes that changes are not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn, however, when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year's Day. Oscar's life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area - and the entire nation - to its very core.(http://www.fruitvalefilm.com)

This film has gained national attention and acclaim, being released at a pivotal time in our history: following the discussions around Alexander's The New Jim Crow, simultaneous with news stories like "The Fight for Black Men" by Joshua DuBois, during the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and anniversary year of the Emancipation Proclamation, and in the 50th anniversary year of the March on Washington. Thus, while Fruitvale calls attention to recent racial injustices and stereotypes, its timing also forces us to consider: How far have we come since the Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation, Civil Rights Movement, and March on Washington? What more must be done to achieve racial equality? What can we do as individuals to combat injustices?

We encourage you to explore Fruitvale Station's website, http://www.fruitvalefilm.com, which features Commit and Toolkit pages with information and resources. Mychal Denzel Smith also published an article in The Nation titled "Rewriting Black Manhood: A Conversation with 'Fruitvale Station' Director Ryan Coogler" which gives great insight into the film.

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