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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


The term "microaggression" was first coined in the 1970's, and later popularized by Columbia professor Derald Sue who defined it as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”

Our summer 2012 exhibit THEM: Images of Separation (traveling exhibit from Ferris State University) tackled microaggressions, featuring implicit and explicitly racist, stereotyping, and hateful memorabilia. This past summer, our What Can You Do To Fight Intolerance? workshop with Dr. Bill Howe also addressed these issues, one of the most memorable quotes from the event being “no child, no person, should be ashamed of who they are.”

A new Tumblr, Microaggressions, puts faces behind many of the stereotypes and racist comments (both intentional and unintentional) discussed in these and other Stowe Center programs. The creators of the blog define it as:
This blog seeks to provide a visual representation of the everyday of “microaggressions.” Each event, observation and experience posted is not necessarily particularly striking in and of themselves. Often, they are never meant to hurt - acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects. Instead, their slow accumulation during a childhood and over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult. Social others are microaggressed hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.
This project is NOT about showing how ignorant people can be in order to simply dismiss their ignorance. Instead, it is about showing how these comments create and enforce uncomfortable, violent and unsafe realities onto peoples’ workplace, home, school, childhood/adolescence/adulthood, and public transportation/space environments.

As do our programs, the Tumblr seeks to shed light on these stereotypes and call attention to such injustices. Below are just two examples of featured microaggressions - others can be viewed in BuzzFeed's "21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear On A Daily Basis" by Heben Nigatu or at microaggressions.tumblr.com.


What microaggressions have you experienced in your life? How have you handled comments that stereotype or offend your race, ethnicity, gender, or lifestyle? Share your responses in the "Comments" section below!

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