It takes courage to speak out on injustices. Harriet Beecher Stowe put pen to paper starting in 1851 to "make this whole nation feel what an accursed thing slavery is." (Isabella Porter Beecher to Harriet Beecher Stowe) Her final product, Uncle Tom's Cabin, indeed moved a nation and - according to the legend surrounding her visit with President Abraham Lincoln - contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War. But the national and international success of Uncle Tom's Cabin did not come without a cost. For years after the serialization and publication of the book, Stowe received widespread criticism and was attacked for publishing what many believed to be lies and falsehoods about slavery. She even received death threats and body parts of slaves in the mail. Yet Stowe persevered and continued as an anti-slavery advocate because she believed her actions could make a positive difference.
death of Nelson Mandela earlier this month, Dominique Mosbergen published "Nelson Mandela Was Released From Prison After 27 Years. These 10 Political Prisoners Are Still Waiting" in the Huffington Post, sharing the stories of 10 activists "who are still suffering in jails around the world for standing tall in the face of repression." Their stories highlight acts of incredible courage, as well as the many global issues that still need attention to create a just society.
In the United States, we enjoy the freedom of speech which many around the world do not. This freedom should be a motivation to emulate Harriet Beecher Stowe and use our talents and voices to express our opinions and advocate for justice. Which issues do you advocate for? How might you exercise your freedom of speech in the new year?
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
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