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.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seven leaders dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls

Earlier this month, WomensEnews.org featured the profiles of seven activists - six women and one man - who work to improve the lives of women and girls. In "21 Women Leaders 2014 - Seven Who Speak Across Our Generations," WeNews Staff shared seven stories as part of their "21 Leaders for the 21st Century" which recognizes people who "advance the idea that women's rights are human rights across the globe, carrying forward decades of activism and dramatically changing what the future holds for this generation of emerging women."

While all seven stories are inspirational, we would like to highlight Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. who founded the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and raises awareness of the realities of modern day slavery and human trafficking. Mr. Morris' recognition as recipient of the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism is particularly timely during this National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month (January 2014).

Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.: Inheritor of Anti-Slavery Activism
Recipient of the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism

Ken Morris
For the first time in 21 Leaders' history, a man has been selected as the recipient of the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism.
Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. is a direct descendant of two of the best-known Americans from the 19th and early 20th centuries: Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. He continues his family's legacy of anti-slavery and educational work as the founder and president of the Atlanta-based public charity Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives.
The father of two teenage daughters, Morris was deeply touched by a 2003 National Geographic Magazine cover story called "21st Century Slaves," which outlined the contemporary manifestations of slavery, including the sexual exploitation of young children. He decided at that moment the only alternative was to act and, calling upon his famous ancestors for guidance, he began pursuing new solutions to this ancient crime against humankind.
Today, Morris and his organization educate young people who are most vulnerable to the dangers and injustice of human trafficking. As part of the organization's work, he speaks at schools across the country, shares history-based service-learning curricula, entitled "History, Human Rights and the Power of One," and participates as a leading activist in the anti-trafficking movement. One recent service-learning initiative, "100 Days to Freedom," helped teach students about the Emancipation Proclamation while facilitating their creation of a "New Proclamation of Freedom."
Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives' programs seek to educate boys about the injustice of sexual crimes committed against women, encouraging an understanding of women's rights at an early age. They also inform girls on how to prevent and protect themselves from becoming victims of sex trafficking.
Morris quotes his great-great-great grandfather, Frederick Douglass, saying, "It's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." He found that this has proven true through his teaching and he hopes young people will follow his lead in educating others. He tells his audiences that everyone "descends from someone who made a difference and you can too."
Even though Morris was aware of it at an early age, his family downplayed his lineage so as not to raise expectations. His activist roots emerged in 2003 and he's never looked back. "We need to know where we've come from in order to know where we're headed," he says.
--By Reshmi Kaur Oberoi

We're sharing this resource as part of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Learn more about the month HERE and check back on this blog for more resources and ways you can take action. 

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