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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Do some people still believe African Americans are better off as slaves?

We all know that despite the strides made in civil rights and equality there are still countless disparities when it comes to issues of class, gender, and race. Yet despite the changes in our country since Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War, and the 13th, some still believe that African Americans would be better off as slaves.

Cliven Bundy, a 67-year-old Nevada rancher who was in the spotlight for grazing his cattle on federal lands, made a statement last week about "the Negro":
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro...and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

You can read more about Bundy and his comments in The New York Times' "A Defiant Rancher Savors the Audience That Rallied to His Side" and MEDIAite's "Cliven Bundy Defends ‘Negro’ Comments in Incredibly Bizarre Press Conference."

What is your reaction to Bundy's statement? How do his comments reflect the continued racial disparities in America, as well as the persistence of racism? Share your reactions and comments below.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A story of racial profiling in Hartford, as told by a retired MLB player

In The Atlantic's "I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway," retired Major League Baseball player Doug Glanville shares his experience of being racial profiled while living in Hartford. The article starts with:
It was an otherwise ordinary snow day in Hartford, Connecticut, and I was laughing as I headed outside to shovel my driveway...Whenever it got ridiculously blizzard-like, I hired a snow removal service. And on many occasions, I came outside to find that our next door neighbor had already cleared my driveway for me....Never mind that our neighbor was an empty-nester in his late 60s with a replaced hip, and I was a former professional ballplayer in his early 40s. I kept telling myself I had to permanently flip the script and clear his driveway...Just as I was good-naturedly turning all this over in my mind, my smile disappeared. A police officer from West Hartford had pulled up across the street, exited his vehicle, and begun walking in my direction. I noted the strangeness of his being in Hartford—an entirely separate town with its own police force—so I thought he needed help. He approached me with purpose, and then, without any introduction or explanation he asked, “So, you trying to make a few extra bucks, shoveling people’s driveways around here?”
You can read the rest of the article HERE.
Does racial profiling still exist, even in our own backyard of Hartford? How do you react to the story given that it comes from the perspective of a former professional athlete? Share your responses below!

Monday, April 28, 2014

#BluePinky spreads awareness about bullying

Friday, April 25, 2014

How do you motivate change? @playing4change does it through music

Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music. The idea for this project came from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.

Visit playingforchange.com to learn more about this global movement to inspire change and break down boundaries through music. Watch one of our favorite videos below!

How do you use your talents to create change?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Girls View Sexual Violence as Normal

In March, our Salons at Stowe program hosted “Campus in Crisis: Speaking Out to End the Violence,” a conversation on sexual assault on college campuses.   The discussion acknowledged how common sexual violence is on college campuses and investigated potential solutions to the issues of rape and assault.  In accordance with our discussion, a new study issued by the sociology journal Gender& Society found that abuse often goes unreported as victims rationalize the behavior as normal.   To reach these findings, sociologist Heather Hlavka analyzed 100 interviews conducted by the Children’s Advocacy Center with youth between the ages of 3 and 17 who may have been sexually assaulted.  She concluded that young women often experience forms of sexual violence in their everyday lives which reinforces the notion that abuse is normal and thus does not warrant a report. 

Click HERE to read a brief overview of the report.
How can we mitigate the lack of reporting of sexual assault and violence?  What can we change socially, politically, and interpersonally to change the dynamics that suggest assault is normal?  In what ways can we work to educate young women and men on the issue of sexual assault?  In what way can women and men collaborate on this issue?  Share below!   

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When racism becomes apparent among kids

Last week, NBC New York shared the following story, "4 Catholic High School Students Expelled After Confederate Flag, Blackface Incidents."

Did St. Anthony's High School react appropriately? How should schools handle acts of racism among kids? Share your thoughts below!

4 Catholic High School Students Expelled After Confederate Flag, Blackface Incidents

4 Teens Expelled After Confederate Flag, Blackface

Four Catholic high school students on Long Island have been expelled after two senior boys brought a Confederate flag to a school event and two sophomore girls posted a blackface photo on social media, the school said.
The two events were separate, according to Gary Cregan, principal of St. Anthony's High School.
The boys allegedly brought the flag to a school gathering on April 9. Teachers immediately took it away, and the students were suspended.
Two days later on Friday, the girls posted a photo of one of them in blackface, along with racist language, the school confirmed.
In a letter to parents on Friday about the flag incident, Cregan said the use of symbol "designed to revive past injustices or to inflame discrimination or racial intolerance is completely unacceptable and profoundly offensive."
"St. Anthony's will always demand acceptance and respect for all races, religions and cultures," he wrote. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

A journal for anti-human trafficking advocates

Do you work to create change around modern day slavery and human trafficking? If so, read more below about the new Journal of Human Trafficking which is seeking submissions for its upcoming issue on Predators. Even if you do not write about trafficking, consider contacting the Journal to subscribe!

The Journal of Human Trafficking is devoted to the dissemination of scholarship on all issues related to trafficking in persons and allied forms of contemporary slavery. The principal aim of the journal is to draw upon insights and expertise from a variety of disciplines and perspectives in order to better understand the global dimensions of – and evolving policy responses relating to – human trafficking. In keeping with this expansive mandate, the journal welcomes submissions in a range of areas, including:  

- Enabling factors which contribute to global patterns of human trafficking;
- Connections and intersections between human trafficking, smuggling and migration;
- The theory and practice of resistance, rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration;
- The challenges and complications of prevention, prosecution, and policy intervention;
- The development and operation of legal regimes relating to human trafficking;
- The relationships between human trafficking, prostitution, gender and/or sexuality;
- Links between human trafficking, global governance, and/or the global economy;
- Popular representations of human trafficking and contemporary ‘slavery’;
- Innovative methods and strategies used to research human trafficking and policy responses;
- The effects of human trafficking upon health, psychology, childhood, welfare, and society.

This list is by no means exhaustive. In further recognition of the fact that the category of human trafficking can itself be understood and applied in multiple ways, the journal favors an expansive approach that links trafficking to allied issues such as bonded labor, forced labor for the state, forced marriage, hereditary bondage, wartime enslavement, and the abuse of migrant and domestic workers. Submissions are welcome from researchers, academics, and practitioners from a variety of disciplines and positions, including anthropology, criminology, family studies, social work, sociology, international relations, law, medicine, nursing and public health, psychology, gender studies, political science, and public policy.

All articles submitted to the journal will been subjected to an initial editorial screening and subsequent double-blind external peer review. Submissions adhering to APA style (6th ed.) are preferred.

Manuscripts for the Journal of Human Trafficking should be submitted to the journal’s Editorial Manager site at www.editorialmanager.com/jht. Please visit our website to view the full Instructions for Authors: www.tandfonline.com/uhmt. Questions can be submitted to the Editor-in-Chief, Rochelle Dalla, at rdalla1@unl.edu.

Upcoming Special Issue: Predators

The Journal of Human Trafficking will publish its first special issue on predators. The special issue will be Guest Edited by Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick. Interested authors can email the guest editor directly for more information: achoifitz.ceu@gmail.com.

Image courtesy of http://libguides.calvin.edu/humantrafficking

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Affordable housing in Chicago

Last week, we hosted “Thinking Regionally: Shared Challenges, Shared Prosperity,” a Salon predicated on discussions of issues facing the Greater Hartford region and ways both urban and suburban areas can collaborate to enact change.  Of the many topics discussed, particular interest was paid to issues of affordable housing as well as the notion that other American cities face similar challenges as the Greater Hartford region.  One such city, Chicago, has proposed a creative solution to address both the lack of affordable rental -units and numerous vacancies.     

In “Loan fund targets small rental buildings,” Mary Ellen Podmolik of the Chicago Tribune describes the proposed project.  The Community Investment Corp. and numerous lenders in the Chicago area have funded a $26 million loan pool designed to entice local investors to buy rental buildings to be used as affordable housing units.   The $26 million is expected to fund 200 buildings in the Chicago area.     

Do you think a solution like this could work in the Greater Hartford area?  What are the potential positive and negative consequences of the bill?  Do you have any similar ideas regarding housing, urban and suburban relationships, or regionalism?  Share below!

Duane Ehresman stands by two buildings in Chicago's Austin neighborhood 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Women of Spirit: Susan Campbell & Isabella Beecher Hooker - TONIGHT with NEW LOCATION

April 16, 2014    7 PM
Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker
Author Talk, Q & A, Book Signing and Party
Susan Campbell
Note NEW LOCATION for this event: Carriage House Theater (home of HartBeat Ensemble), 360 Farmington Avenue -- just across the street from the Stowe Center.  We'll enjoy the book talk and Q & A at the Carriage House, then move to the Stowe Center's Katharine Seymour Day House for the book signing and party.
Parking is available:
On-street on Forest or Woodland Streets
Stowe Center parking lot at 77 Forest Street
Mark Twain House upper lot (adjacent to 77 Forest Street)
Lot at 66 Forest Street 

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center presents Women of Spirit: Susan Campbell & Isabella Beecher Hooker, to celebrate the release of Campbell’s biography: Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker (Wesleyan University Press, 2014).

The free event includes remarks by Campbell, Q&A with Stowe Center Executive Director Katherine Kane, book signing, refreshments, live music and a display of rarely seen items from the Stowe Center collections including Hooker’s suffragist cap, clothing and letters. 

Tempest-Tossed is the first full biography of the passionate, fascinating youngest daughter of the “Fabulous Beecher” family – one of the most high-powered American families of the nineteenth century.  Older sister Harriet was the celebrated author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, brother Henry Ward Beecher was one of America’s most influential ministers, and sister Catharine Beecher wrote pivotal works on women’s rights and educational reform.

Isabella Beecher Hooker, a curiously modern 19th-century figure, was a leader in the suffrage movement and a mover and shaker in Hartford’s storied Nook Farm neighborhood.  An ardent Spiritualist, Hooker could be off-putting, perplexing, tenacious and charming.  In the eyes of Hartford society, which valued restraint and duty, her “wild streak” was especially unfavorable.

“Susan Campbell has brought Isabella’s fascinating forgotten story back to life with the deep research of a born historian and the vibrant readable prose style of a veteran journalist.”  -- Debby Applegate, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher.

Join us as Campbell brings to life Hooker’s evolution from orthodox Calvinist daughter, wife and mother to one of the most influential players in the movement for women’s suffrage. Enjoy refreshments and live music as we toast Campbell and Beecher Hooker, women of spirit.

Campbell conducted much of her research on Isabella Beecher Hooker at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, which houses the largest collection of material related to the Beecher and Stowe extended families.  “I first met Isabella Beecher Hooker while researching an article about her at the Stowe Center, and once I met her, I couldn't let her go,” says Campbell. “She was impassioned and dedicated and she has a lot to teach us.”

Campbell’s new book is available for sale in the Stowe Center Museum Store.  Copies will also be available for purchase at the event.

Campbell is the award-winning author of "Dating Jesus." For more than a quarter-century, she was a columnist at the Hartford Courant, where her work was recognized by the National Women's Political Caucus, New England Associated Press News Executives, the Society for Professional Journalists, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the Sunday Magazine Editors Association. Her column about the shootings at lottery headquarters in March 1998 was part of The Courant's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage. She has appeared on CBS' "Sunday Morning," the BBC's "World Have Your Say," and various radio shows including WNPR. She also co-writes a religion blog, "Hot Dogma!"
Reservations: Info@StoweCenter.org or 860-522-9258, ext. 317 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Stop Telling Women To Smile" workshop on street harassment TOMORROW at Charter Oak Cultural Center

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: Stop Telling Women To Smile
Gallery Talk/Workshop: Wednesday, April 16, noon, Free

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh explains her show Stop Telling Women to Smile and helps workshop attendees to make their own posters.

She started the project in Brooklyn in the fall of 2012. It is an on-going, traveling series that the artist is taking to cities throughout the country and engaging the participation of women from each community. The show runs through April 18.

Street harassment is a serious issue that affects women world-wide. This project takes women’s voices, and faces, and put them in the street creating a presence for women in an environment where women are often made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

The show is part of the month-long celebration of Girlcott, an effort we began last year to raise awareness of body image and the relationship between women and the cosmetics they wear.

Runs through April 18.

Visit www.charteroakcenter.org for more information and click HERE to register for tomorrow's gallery talk/workshop. To learn more about Tatyana Fazlalizadeh and her project, check out WNYC's "Not Taking it Anymore: One Woman Talks Back to Street Harassers."

Monday, April 14, 2014

"The Trouble with Trafficking" panel at Yale University on April 15, 2014

For our followers who are #antislavery activists, don't miss this program tomorrow evening at the Whitney Humanities Center (Yale University)!

Friday, April 11, 2014

GLSEN Safe Schools Summit TOMORROW at CCSU

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) will be hosting the 3rd annual Safe Schools Summit, a free conference, tomorrow, April 12 from 9am-3pm at CCSU. The event will "empower youth, educators, and other community allies with the knowledge, resources, and skills to make their schools safer for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identify/expression."

See below for more information or visit http://connecticut.glsen.org/page/s/Summit2014Registration to register.

@YouthService America's Global Youth Service Day - What will YOU do?

Calling all children, teens and young adults to take action! April 11-13, 2014 is @YouthService America's Global Youth Service Day (#GYSD) during which young people across the world will take part in and lead service projects and events celebrating the service youth do year round. Youth Service America has great resources for youth looking to take action, including a GYSD Map of events and projects for this weekend.

How will YOU take action this Global Youth Service Day?

Congratulations and thank you to all the amazing children, teens, young adults - and their adult champions and mentors - who will serve and celebrate this weekend as part of the 26th Annual Global Youth Service Day.

Young people in more than 110 countries across 6 continents will lead service or service-learning projects, as well as events celebrating the good work youth are doing in their communities year-round. Find GYSD projects in your area: www.GYSD.org/map

Global Youth Service Day shines a bright light on the unique perspective, compassion, and creativity that young people contribute to their communities. This is a time for young people to find their voice, take action, and serve - not as the leaders of tomorrow, but as the leaders of today.
There's still time to register your project or event - to be counted, add it to the map by Monday, April 14.

GYSD 2014 By the Numbers
(3) Michigan    (4) Minnesota     (5) California
(6) Pennsylvania     (7) Georgia     (8) Arizona
(9) Florida    (10) New York
(3) Nigeria     (*) Puerto Rico     (4) Ghana
(5 - tie) Morocco, Russia   (6 - tie) Pakistan, Zambia  
(7 - tie) Australia, India, Philippines

 1,918 Projects Registered on the GYSD Map  50 U.S. States + DC with Projects RegisteredTop States: (1) Virginia   (2) Texas 110 Countries with Projects Registered  Top Countries: (1) Kyrgyzstan   (2) Sri Lanka  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Don't miss tonight's "Thinking Regionally" Salon!

Join us tonight for our "Thinking Regionally: Shared Challenges, Shared Prosperity" Salon from 5-7pm at the Stowe Center, with featured guests Grace Damio (Hispanic Health Council) and Scott Gaul (Hartford Foundation for Public Giving). The Salon will consider the recently-released report Metro Hartford Progress Points: A Snapshot of Our Community which you can read HERE or below. Visit http://metrohartfordprogresspoints.org for more information about the report.

Regionalism is a much debated but little understood buzzword in Greater Hartford. Gaul and Damio will share findings from a recently released report, Metro Hartford Progress Points: A Snapshot of Our Community, a collective effort of Capital Workforce Partners, Capitol Region Council of Governments, City of Hartford / Opportunities Hartford, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Hispanic Health Council, MetroHartford Alliance, Trinity Center for Urban and Global Studies, Urban League of Greater Hartford and United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut to build greater understanding about issues facing the Greater Hartford community and identify opportunities for action.

Metro Hartford Progress Points 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Stowe Center salutes its volunteers!

National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, 2014, is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.

During this National Volunteer Week, the Stowe Center salutes its many volunteers who assist in programming, education, visitor services, collections, gardens, and special projects. Last year alone, our amazing team of more than 20 volunteers dedicated 1,500 hours to helping the Stowe Center realize its mission of using Stowe's story to inspire positive change. We owe a great deal to the men and women of all ages and backgrounds who choose to give their time, energy and passion to the Stowe Center!

How do you give back to your community? What will you do to make a difference this National Volunteer Week? If you are interested in volunteering at the Stowe Center, email Program Coordinator Brian Cofrancesco at volunteer@stowecenter.org

Stowe Center volunteers at the January 2014 Volunteer Appreciation Event

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Iranian and American Prisons

Last week, we featured two posts about panel discussions at Yale around incarceration. This tweet from Michelle Alexander, author of Stowe Prize-winning book The New Jim Crow, features an article which discusses incarceration and prisons in American and abroad. In the words of Ms. Alexander: "Every American should read this article."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Don't miss our next Salon on April 10: "Thinking Regionally: Shared Challenges, Shared Prosperity"

Calling all community activists: join the conversation at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s Salons at Stowe on April 10, 2014 from 5 – 7 PM.  Thinking Regionally: Shared Challenges, Shared Prosperity will feature guests Grace Damio (Director of Research and Service Initiatives at the Hispanic Health Council) and Scott Gaul (Community Indicators Project Director at Hartford Foundation for Public Giving).

Regionalism is a much debated but little understood buzzword in Greater Hartford. Gaul and Damio will share findings from a recently released report, Metro Hartford Progress Points: A Snapshot of Our Community, a collective effort of Capital Workforce Partners, Capitol Region Council of Governments, City of Hartford / Opportunities Hartford, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Hispanic Health Council, MetroHartford Alliance, Trinity Center for Urban and Global Studies, Urban League of Greater Hartford and United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut to build greater understanding about issues facing the Greater Hartford community and identify opportunities for action.

Metro Hartford Progress Points looks at the forces shaping Greater Hartford, both the connections across it and
the critical education, income and opportunity gaps within it. The report notes a number of trends that affect the region including increasing globalization, growing suburban poverty, stubborn education gaps, an aging population leading to growing job opportunities in healthcare, and affordable housing concentrated in Hartford. It is a
call to action for groups and individuals throughout Metro Hartford
to recognize all that we share, to join forces to address our challenges and to create more vibrant and prosperous communities for all.

The discussion will center on the following questions: What are the greatest assets of the Metro Hartford region?  What are its greatest challenges? How can communities, policymakers, businesses and residents work together to respond to our region’s challenges to create a more prosperous future? How do we build positive relationships between communities in the region and between city and suburb?

Looking to learn more about regional challenges and prosperity before the Salon? We recommend reading Paige William's "Drop Dead, Detroit!" from The New Yorker.

Reserve your seat today! Email Info@StoweCenter.org or call 860-522-9258, ext. 317.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Isolation and Reintegration: Punishment circa 2014" on April 3 at Yale Law School

We've hosted several programs in the past year on mass incarceration, its impact on families, and Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, and now Yale Law School will host "Isolation and Reintegration: Punishment circa 2014." The program will feature three leading scholars and will consider the current state of incarceration and punishment in the United States. See below for details and visit http://www.law.yale.edu/news/18198.htm.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and April 1 is the official Day of Action. As a way to raise awareness around sexual assault, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) has launched several pages on its website featuring resources and information about their current campaign. For those who attended our "Campus in Crisis: Speaking Out to End the Violence," or who are interested in the issue of sexual assault, these resources will be of great use to you in taking action. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

This nationally recognized day provides an opportunity for prevention advocates to engage with their communities.  Plan or support a SAAM event in your community on April 1, and keep the conversation going all month long on NSVRC social networking sites.

SAAM Day of Action

The SAAM Day of Action will be observed on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.  This is nationally recognized in the United States as a specific day to focus awareness on sexual violence prevention. Through coordinated planning of special events, advocates can raise awareness, media attention and national momentum for ending and preventing sexual violence. 
Use SAAM campaign materials and resources for ideas on how to observe this day in your community. Check out our  Event planning guideSocial media toolkitHow to create a campaign, ProclamationYouth proclamation and Letter to the Editor

Join the movement! 

Join the movement and participate in the Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign on social media

Ways to participate

  • Use tweets, posts, and status updates to spread the word about SAAM. Check out our Social media toolkit for ideas.
  • Visit the SAAM blog for campaign updates and prevention resources. Join the conversation, leave a comment and share with us.
  • #TweetAboutIt Tuesdays! Join us on Twitter for an hour-long town hall discussion every Tuesday in April. 
  • Participate in #30 Days of SAAM on Instagram. Follow daily prompts to inspire photos and sharing each day in April.
  • Post a SAAM or healthy sexuality-related video to the NSVRC YouTube channel.
  • Update your online profile or website by downloading a SAAM background, teal ribbon or SAAM logo.
  • Highlight your event on the national event calendar, and check out events happening locally and across the country. 
  • Share your photos, videos, stories, and posts by email to  or post on NSVRC social networking sites.
  • Connect with NSVRC on Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned for SAAM-related updates all month long. You’ll also find us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and YouTube.