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 31, 2013

Murdered for speaking out

Last week, we posted about Activists imprisoned around the world - people who face opposition and sometimes punishment for using their voices to raise awareness on contemporary injustices.The sad reality, however, is that some activists are physically threatened or attacked for their opinions.
One such activist, Sushmita Banerjee, was killed by the Taliban in September for speaking out.

Sushmita BanerjeeLike Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sushmita Banerjee took to writing to share a story. In 1995, she published A Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife, a memoir about her 1994 escape from Afghanistan and the Taliban regime. After being captured and interrogated by the Taliban, she was returned to her home of Calcutta where she wrote and published her memoir. The book was later made into a 2003 Bollywood film, Escape from Taliban, and Banerjee recently returned to Afghanistan to work as a health worker and film the lives of local women.

Her effort to tell her story and speak out was not received well by Taliban militants, and in September of this year members of the political group stormed Banerjee's home, tied up her family, and shot her outside, leaving her body near a religious school. You may recall that the Taliban also attempted to take the life of education activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012.

Tragic stories like Banerjee's connect with the message of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's, who identify the oppression of women as the defining issue of our time. Authors of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide and winners of the 2011 inaugural Stowe Prize, Kristof and WuDunn work worldwide to end the oppression of women, empower women, and "provide concrete steps to fight these problems."  Two websites, www.halfthesky.org and www.halftheskymovement.org share action steps and news about their work so that women like Sushmita Banerjee and Malala Yousafzai can use their voices and feel empowered, not endangered.

For more about Sushmita Banerjee, be sure to read the BBC's "Indian diarist Sushmita Banerjee shot dead in Afghanistan." To learn more about Half the Sky, explore the two websites above and read our blog post from a 2011 Stowe Center program about the book. Copies of the book are available in the Stowe Center Museum Shop for $15.95.

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