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.

Monday, July 13, 2015

"A New Day Dawns" in South Carolina after the Confederate Flag is Removed

After weeks of activist work and protest, on Friday July 10th, officials at the South Carolina statehouse removed the Confederate Flag that had flown in front on statehouse grounds since 1961. The flag was removed after intense debate in both the South Carolina House and Senate and subsequent vote over the status of the flag. In the early morning hours of Thursday July 9th, South Carolina House members sent a bill to Governor Nikki Haley ordering the immediate removal of the flag from statehouse grounds.    

Activist Bree Newsome, drawn here as a superhero, removes Confederate Flag herself weeks before it was officially removed

Confederate Flag taken down in Charleston, South Carolina

An emotional vote and debate for many, the removal of the flag inspired poet Nikky Finney to pen "A New Day Dawns" on the symbolic importance of taking down the Confederate Flag. 

It is the pearl blue peep of day. All night the Palmetto sky was seized with the aurora and alchemy of the remarkable. A blazing canopy of newly minted light fluttered in while we slept. We are not free to go on as if nothing happened yesterday, not free to cheer as if all our prayers have finally been answered today. We are free, only, to search the yonder of each other’s faces, as we pass by, tip our hat, hold a door ajar, asking silently who are we now? Blood spilled in battle is two-headed: horror and sweet revelation. Let us put the cannons of our eyes away forever. Our one and only Civil War is done. Let us tilt, rotate, strut on. If we, the living, do not give our future the same honor as the sacred dead – of then and now – we lose everything. The gardenia air feels lighter on this new day, guided now by iridescent fireflies, those atom-like creatures of our hot summer nights, now begging us to team up and search with them for that which brightens every darkness. It will be just us again, alone, beneath the swirling indigo sky of South Carolina, working on the answer to our great day’s question: Who are we now? What new human cosmos can be made of this tempest of tears, this upland of inconsolable jubilation? In all our lifetimes, finally, this towering undulating moment is here. 

What do you think of the removal of the Confederate Flag? What are your reactions to Nikky Finney's peom? What do you think she means when she writes "Our one and only Civil War is done. Let us tilt, rotate, strut on"? 

Do you have more thoughts about the Confederate Flag and other symbols of white supremacy? Come to the next Stowe Salon at Lunch on Wednesday July 15th from 12:00-1:00 pm. We'll be discussing the Confederate Flag, its meaning and power, as well as the implications of its removal. Join us! 

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/living/article26928424.html#storylink=cpy

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