because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe went to a girls' school in the early 1800's, but the education she got there was the same set of topics males were typically taught (including languages and math). So it should have surprised no one that she wound up being able to think and quick to question everything.

When she married an abolitionist, it was only a matter of time before they became part of the Underground Railroad, hiding escaped slaves and helping them along their path to freedom. And after the Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850, making it against the law to do what they were doing, it took Stowe barely a year to respond by publishing the first segment of her book Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Uncle Tom's Cabin was only a novel about life as an African slave in the southern United States, but it sold more than 300,000 copies in less than a year, was turned into a play in New York City, and resulted in hundreds of babies in Boston alone being named after one of the principle characters. There's no way to be sure, of course, but it is often said that Uncle Tom's Cabin and Stowe's other works on slavery in the 1850's helped to start the Civil War. And that's a lot of in-your-faceness!

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