Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 – 1896)


“I feel now that the time is come when even a woman or a child, who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak. I hope every woman who can write will not be silent!”

Stowe is best known for her work Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1851), which depicted the harsh realities of slavery in the United States and engendered great anger in the southern states, but energized anti-slavery groups in the North, selling 300,000 copies in its first year, in the lead up to the American Civil War. The book was popular in both the United States and United Kingdom. She reached millions through both her written words and public stands.

In a show of moral defiance, Stowe wrote the book not long after the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law, which forbade any white citizen from helping slaves. Moreover, she and her husband Calvin Ellis Stowe, a professor, participated in the Underground Railroad by sheltering slaves in their home in Maine. Stowe believed it was a moral imperative for people to help.

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