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, March 11, 2014

"Will 12 Years a Slave help the fight against slavery?"

Over the past few months, Hollywood has been abuzz with critical acclaim for 12 Years a Slave (2013) which tells the harrowing story of Solomon Northup and his fight for freedom in the 1840's and 1850's. If you missed the Academy Awards last weekend, the Oscar for best film was awarded to 12 Years a Slave, and his acceptance speech (below) Director Steve McQueen commented:
"Right now, there are 21 million people in slavery as we sit here...21 million people. I just hope that 150 years from now, our ambivalence will not allow another filmmaker to make this film."

Like the Stowe Center does with all of its programs, McQueen made direct connections between the past and the present, proclaiming that the issue abolitionists and anti-slavery advocates (including Stowe) worked for 150 years ago persists; there is still work to be done. In a recent article, the British publication The Guardian asked "Will 12 Years a Slave help fight against slavery?" considering the roles of other films about slavery and their impact. In one particular paragraph, reporter Oliver Balch commented:
"And a film's impact doesn't have to end with its screening. Promoting audience discussion and debate after a film's screening is "absolutely critical" for films about slavery, says John Biaggi, director of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. It provides the opportunity for viewers to probe issues further and, ideally, to decide what actions they can take."

So do you think the success of movies like Taken and 12 Years a Slave raise awareness of modern day slavery and encourage the fight to end human trafficking and other forms of bondage? What action are you compelled to take? Share your comments below.

No comments: