Who’s Your Mammy?

“The Help” didn’t get quite as much love as expected at this year’s Academy Awards, but it was one of the more popularly beloved, acclaimed and successful Hollywood films of 2011 (as adapted from the best-selling Kathryn Stockett novel of the same name). One noteworthy dissenting voice has been from Melissa Harris-Perry, the acclaimed in […]

Black History Month

Today marks the start of African-American History Month. Quite appropriately, the majority of events and activities celebrate the many contributions of African-Americans to the history of our nation. But just as appropriately, it is also a time to reflect on the history of African-Americans in the story of our nation. The new Smithsonian National Museum […]


200 years ago, on June 14, 1811 Harriet Elisabeth Beecher was born. The sixth of eleven children of the prominent clergyman, the Reverend Lyman Beecher, all seven of her brothers became ministers, but her calling was to the written word. 160 years ago, on June 5, 1851, the paper The National Era published the first […]

“Uncle Tom was no Uncle Tom”

Steve Simms has had a revelation: I Actually Read, Uncle Tom’s Cabin When I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin … I was shocked to learn that Uncle Tom was no Uncle Tom. He was not weak or servile. He was not a wimp. He didn’t cooperate with his owners for selfish reasons or for personal advantage. […]

Twain and the “N-Word”

This week has been full of buzz about the impending publication of a new edition of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – one in which the the word “nigger” is to be purged and replaced with other, presumably less offensive terminology, such as “slave.” This has raised a considerable hue and cry while […]

Why Study Uncle Tom’s Cabin?

2011 is the bicentennial of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s birth, and the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Which makes it a very big year for Uncle Tom’s Cabin! Our DVD will be useful to people of all ages, but we think it can be especially valuable to secondary school-aged kids and their […]

The “Real” Uncle Tom

Plans are moving ahead for an Uncle Tom’s Cabin museum centering on a Maryland property that was once part of a slave-owning plantation – and once the home of the slave Josiah Henson. Is the log cabin on this property the “real” Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Is Josiah Henson the “real” Uncle Tom? The project came […]

A signing heard ’round the world.

On this day in 1860, 150 years ago, South Carolina seceded from the Union, setting in motion the events that led to the American Civil War. As author Edward Ball points out in his NYTimes Op Ed, while it’s popular now for many to describe it as a battle over the constitutional issue of States’ […]