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March is Women's History Month.
"Uncle Tom’s Cabin" was first published chapter by chapter in The National Era, a weekly anti-slavery newspaper. The story became so popular that it was collected and republished as a book in 1852.
The term "Uncle Tom" has become ubiquitous in American politics and culture. What do the popular and slang connotations of the term have to do with Harriet Beecher Stowe's best-selling 1852 novel?
This lecture will trace Harriet Beecher Stowe’s emergence into authorship and abolitionist leadership from an African American point of view, analyzing both her own descriptions of Black characters, feelings and actions in her antislavery fiction and the ways those characters have been deployed by African American literary authors and political figures.
Tess Chakkalakal is Peter M. Small Associate Professor of Africana Studies and English at Bowdoin College. She is the author of "Novel Bondage: Slavery, Marriage, and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century America" (2011) and co-editor of "Literature, Jim Crow and the Legacy of Sutton E. Griggs" (2013) and a new edition of Griggs’s 1899 novel "Imperium in Imperio" (2021).
In 2011, she directed the Harriet Beecher Stowe at 200 International Conference, co-sponsored by Bowdoin College and the Stowe Society. Following up on the conference she directed the successful effort to renovate the Stowe House at Bowdoin College, where Stowe penned Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The House now is open to the public where visitors can enjoy “Harriet’s Writing Room” a permanent exhibit that showcases Stowe’s Legacy.
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