Books Change the Heart

If we measure books by the positive impact they made, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a transcendent book. It personalized slavery so that the reader saw slaves as people. It highlighted the abuse inflicted. It brought on an intense emotional reaction.

In the 1800s, only the Bible sold more copies that Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It was written in response to the unjust Dred Scott decision by the pro-slavery Supreme Court.

Stowe was a committed abolitionist who offered her home as refuge to runaway slaves on their route to freedom in Canada. She was, as we say today, the real deal. She was a celebrity who walked the walk.

I tried reading it. For our 21st century sensibilities, it is a chore to get through. It uses the verbose, over dramatized style of the 19th century and it is loaded with slang and tries to imitate the diction of slaves at the time.

I don’t recommend reading it. I do recommend you tip your hat to this woman who accomplished more with paper and pen than a thousand cannons and ten thousand rifles. And writers, put your own pen to paper or fingers to keys because what you have to say can be important, too.

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