Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Revisiting Some of History's Most Controversial Figures

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Revisiting Some of History's Most Controversial Figures

Article excerpt

When assistant editor Kendra Hamilton mentioned this year marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin and suggested visiting the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Conn., I thought it could make for an interesting article. However, even I was surprised by how much I didn't know about Uncle Tom's Cabin and the true influence the book as well as the character Uncle Tom have had on this country and worldwide.

We in the Black community have used the term "Uncle Tom" rather loosely to refer to Blacks considered to be, using Kendra's term, a "sellout." Webster's New World Dictionary defines "Uncle Tom" as "a Black regarded as servile toward Whites: a term of contempt."

In the article, scholars shed light on the history and use of the term "Uncle Tom" and discuss the influence the book and its characters have had on contemporary culture as well.

Even if you're not particularly a fan of the book or of its author Harriet Beecher Stowe, I think you will find the cover story, "The Strange Career of Uncle Tom," to be enlightening and an eye-opener.

The article "Keeping Jim Crow Alive" also was an eye-opener. We did not plan for this article to appear in the same edition as the Uncle Tom piece, but we think it's appropriate. Both articles take us back to a time and place that many of us would rather not go. Dr. David Pilgrim, curator of the Jim Crow Museum for Racist Memorabilia, said that some Black people have cried after visiting the museum and some White people have apologized on the spot. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.