Voices for Truth: Harriet’s Opening Lines
Sep. 05 2024
Harriet Beecher Stowe House 2950 Gilbert Avenue, Cincinnati, OH, USA Open in Google Map
7–8 p.m.

*This program will take place at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, with a Zoom option.*

“In the beginning . . .”: As our fall series resumes, we ask how much we can learn about Harriet Beecher Stowe’s voice for truth from the first chapters of three of her most interesting and important books: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Pearl of Orr’s Island. How do these chapters introduce their books, and what do they tell us about Harriet’s craft and preoccupations as an author?

Suggested reading:

Harriet Beecher Stowe,

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), Preface and Chapter I
A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1853), Preface and Chapter I
The Pearl of Orr’s Island (1862), Introductory Note and Chapter I

About the series:

2024 Discussion Series Theme: Voices for Truth

In 2024 ,our monthly discussion series will have a new name, Voices for Truth, and will feature all-new discussion topics.

We’ll continue to focus on moments in American history when eloquent voices arose, often from the margins, to address important issues, usually related to social justice, in culture and society.

We’ll study the writings of many authors from the 19th and 20th centuries to determine how they discovered their voices, the forms they chose for expressing their voices, the needs both personal and societal to which they put those expressions, the effects their work had and how we can develop and enlist our own voices in service of our own values.

Harriet Beecher Stowe is our exemplar voice for truth. During her eighteen years in Cincinnati as a young adult (1832-1850), she discovered her voice as a writer, and in 1851, she decided to devote it to the anti-slavery cause. Horrified by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, she wrote to editor Gamaliel Bailey: “Up to this year I have always felt that I had no particular call to meddle with this subject [slavery], and I dreaded to expose even my own mind to the full force of its exciting power. But now I feel that the time has come when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak.”

The result, of course, was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the blockbuster novel that awakened many Northerners to the horrors of slavery and helped create the change of heart that would allow the Union to stand firm when the South ceded over slavery.

This series is sponsored by School Outfitters. ​

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