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

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Did "12 Years a Slave" motivate action?

The Academy Award winning film 12 Years A Slave (McQueen 2014), moved audience to tears and sympathy but did it motivate action? In director and executive producer Steve McQueen’s Oscar acceptance speech, he called for the end of modern day slavery, noting the existence of 21 million current enslaved individuals. McQueen’s speech and film had potential to be the foundation for an international recognition and mobilization effort towards anti-slavery and anti-human trafficking initiatives, but instead only proved to marginally increase awareness.

In his article “Not a single chain smashed by 12 Years a Slave,” Cosmo Landesman of London’s The Sunday Times notes that Antis-slavery International, a leading organization committed to the end of human trafficking, only increased monthly visitation by about 146 after the film’s premier. 

Why do you think the film failed to elicit action towards the issue of modern day slavery? What are the limitations of film and media as sources of activism?

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