Connections: Uncle Tom’s Cabin (2011) | ETV Classics

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Uncle Tom?” 

Harriet Beecher Stowe published the novel "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" on March 28, 1852. It was said that when Harriet Beecher Stowe met Abraham Lincoln, he said “So, you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” This exchange is considered questionable, however, during its time, the book sold 500,000 copies, and shed a harsh light on the institution of slavery. 

Uncle Tom of the book was a true hero but has been maligned since and the host and panel discuss politics which had a profound effect upon how Uncle Tom was viewed in the years that followed.

Side Notes:

  • The Underground Railroad, was a system in the Northern states before the Civil War where escaped slaves from the South were secretly helped by sympathetic Northerners to reach places of safety in the North or in Canada. Though neither underground or railroad, it was thus named because its activities had to be carried out in secret, using darkness or disguise, and because railway terms were used in reference to the conduct of the system.

  • Josiah Henson’s autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, was published in 1849; it was subsequently reprinted under a variety of titles. Stowe cited the work among her sources for Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In 1983 Henson became the first black person to be featured on a Canadian postage stamp. 

  • Kevin Alexander Gray passed away on March 7, 2023.