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Rescuing the Real Uncle Tom
NY Times ^ | 06/14/11 | DAVID S. REYNOLDS

Posted on 06/14/2011 12:05:22 PM PDT by Borges

The novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, born 200 years ago today, was an unlikely fomenter of wars. Diminutive and dreamy-eyed, she was a harried housewife with six children, who suffered from various obscure illnesses worsened by her persistent hypochondria.

And yet, driven by a passionate hatred of slavery, she found time to write “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which became the most influential novel in American history and a catalyst for radical change both at home and abroad.

Today, of course, the book has a decidedly different reputation, thanks to the popular image of its titular character, Uncle Tom — whose name has become a byword for a spineless sellout, a black man who betrays his race.

And we tend to think of the novel itself as an old-fashioned, rather lachrymose affair that features the deaths of an obsequious enslaved black man and his blond, angelic child-friend, Little Eva.

But this view is egregiously inaccurate: the original Uncle Tom was physically strong and morally courageous, an inspiration for blacks and other oppressed people worldwide. In other words, Uncle Tom was anything but an “Uncle Tom.”

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: christianity; literature; race; slavery; stowe; uncletomscabin

1 posted on 06/14/2011 12:05:25 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

Leftists lie about everything.


2 posted on 06/14/2011 12:10:35 PM PDT by rogue yam
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To: Borges

It’s always bothered me no end that Uncle Tom has such a bad connotation to it, when he was such a very good character. Also makes me nuts that everyone says “Scrooge” like it’s a bad thing; we should all be as lucky as him and no one kept Christmas better.


3 posted on 06/14/2011 12:10:53 PM PDT by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: Borges
Uncle Tom was the Christ figure, who loved his persecutors, returned good for evil, and forgave freely.

4 posted on 06/14/2011 12:12:18 PM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: Borges
Indeed, during the civil rights era recent times, it was those who most closely resembled Uncle Tom — Stowe’s Tom, not the sheepish one of popular myth — who proved most effective in promoting progress.

"And from my standpoint as a black American, as far as I'm concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree."

5 posted on 06/14/2011 12:13:18 PM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free!)
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To: Borges; Mrs. Don-o

ping and read later
“Uncle Tom” as a term of derision exposes one thing - ignorance.

I would bet money that not one in a hundred who use it ever read the book.


6 posted on 06/14/2011 12:13:32 PM PDT by don-o (He will not share His glory; and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.)
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To: Borges

Uncle Tom is a term used by blacks to slander anyone not on the Democrat Party gravy train. If they listen to the NYTimes, they would come up with some other slander like Oreo.

Its about demeaning your opposition, nothing else.


7 posted on 06/14/2011 12:14:24 PM PDT by whitedog57
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To: Hegewisch Dupa
It's probably because Uncle Tom was an extremely devout Christian and the liberals just can't stand that.

"My body may belong to you . . . but my soul belongs to the Lord!"

8 posted on 06/14/2011 12:18:11 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

You are probably right on the money


9 posted on 06/14/2011 12:19:52 PM PDT by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: Borges

Quick, someone check to see if Rupert Murdock bought the NYT and replaced it’s editorial staff overnight. This article CONDEMNS the race baiters and hucksters that have labeled black conservatives erroneously for years as liars. But be sure those same baiters and hucksters will be swift to continue the false labeling as long as it serves the liberal progressive playbook. Don’t want anything to upset the apple cart or affirmative action quotas and set asides, which is racist on it’s face.


10 posted on 06/14/2011 12:22:21 PM PDT by cashless (Unlike Obama and his supporters, I'd rather be a TEA BAGGER than a TEA BAGGEE.)
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To: Borges
And yet, driven by a passionate hatred of slavery, she found time to write “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which became the most influential novel in American history and a catalyst for radical change both at home and abroad.

Let's hope that Atlas Shrugged becomes the same................

11 posted on 06/14/2011 12:22:25 PM PDT by Red Badger (Nothing is a 'right' if someone has to give it to you................)
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To: don-o

“lachrymose!”

Had to resort to the dictionary for that one! The only thing there was a picture of Boehner!


12 posted on 06/14/2011 12:24:31 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: Borges

Influential? Yes. Well written? No.


13 posted on 06/14/2011 12:25:49 PM PDT by Publius
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To: Borges
Stowe was one of hundreds of Christian opinion leaders who provided momentum for social improvement in nineteenth-century America. They studied their Bibles and sought to implement the truth they learned there.

14 posted on 06/14/2011 12:29:34 PM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: whitedog57

In the late sixties “Uncle Tom” was used to slander any black person who was not an angry militant or disagreed with those who were.

The Chicano movement started up among Hispanics about the same time. They sought a term equally insulting for the nonmilitant among them that rang like “Uncle Tom”, so they came up with “Tio Taco!”


15 posted on 06/14/2011 12:33:06 PM PDT by elcid1970 ("Deport Muslims. Nuke Mecca. Death to Islam. Freedom for mankind.")
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To: Borges

“who suffered from various obscure illnesses worsened by her persistent hypochondria.”

I hate aside comments like this. How do they know she was pretending any of her ailments? She is not here to defend herself.


16 posted on 06/14/2011 12:35:29 PM PDT by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: Publius
Influential? Yes. Well written? No.

Same goes for Jane Austen, IMHO.
17 posted on 06/14/2011 12:37:55 PM PDT by youngidiot (Hear Hear!)
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To: Borges
born 200 years ago today

Not on Google's radar for graphic commemoration, apparently.

18 posted on 06/14/2011 12:39:17 PM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: Hegewisch Dupa

Scrooge experienced a re-birth. I think Dickens showed the reader hope out of sin and the benefits of a Christian way of life. God works in mysterious ways His miracles to perform.


19 posted on 06/14/2011 12:45:13 PM PDT by Paperdoll (NO MORE BUSHS!)
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To: Persevero

Hypochondria is not faking ailments, that is another disorder. It is the persistent concern about being ill or compulsive attention to symptoms.


20 posted on 06/14/2011 12:50:31 PM PDT by dangerdoc (see post #6)
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To: Borges

Kind of like the way liberals have made “swiftboating” a synonym for “lying” when it’s the exact opposite.


21 posted on 06/14/2011 12:51:30 PM PDT by PzLdr ("The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am" - Darth Vader)
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To: don-o
Well, it was left-wing blacks recruiting for armed struggle (e.g. Malcolm X in his separatist NOI phase) --- not whites --- who turned "Uncle Tom" into a term of contempt. They have no use for a black man who, because of his innate moral strength and dignity, is not motivated by rage, envy, or revenge.

On a related note, I personally suspect that the same passel of liberal literary prudes who want to ban Huckleberry Finn (accordiing to the American Library Association, the most-frequently-complained-about library book in America) --- have not read that, either.

22 posted on 06/14/2011 12:53:31 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (God has set a limit on man's intelligence, but none on his stupidity.)
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To: youngidiot

Austen’s prose is pristine and perfect. How is it not well written?


23 posted on 06/14/2011 12:58:17 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Genoa
Absolutely.

In the book we was the embodiment of Christian behavior and love, a man of decency and honor, and to have the race-baiting hucksters co-op his good mane and reputation is a great tragedy.

24 posted on 06/14/2011 1:07:23 PM PDT by Hulka
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To: dangerdoc

“Hypochondria is not faking ailments, that is another disorder. It is the persistent concern about being ill or compulsive attention to symptoms.”

Ok, but I still don’t think they should accuse her of it. It seems low.


25 posted on 06/14/2011 1:11:03 PM PDT by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: don-o

I’ve read UTC. While it has long segments of antiquated prose, sometimes painfully so, it also has passages of great dramatic power.

Interesting factoid. UTC has been in continuous print since written.

You can read or search it online.

http://www.online-literature.com/stowe/uncletom/

Uncle Tom himself is a wholly admirable character. Those who denigrate him are idiots, and are often the same people who glorify the gangbangers.


26 posted on 06/14/2011 1:21:48 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Persevero

I presume it comes from the accepting scholarship on her - not something this column is introducing.


27 posted on 06/14/2011 1:54:32 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

Mr. Prince of Space’s aunt did some genealogy on their family and found they were related to HBS...as well as Warren Gamaliel Harding, lol.

Mrs. Prince of Space


28 posted on 06/14/2011 3:25:04 PM PDT by Prince of Space ("The problem with quotes on the internet is it's hard to verify their authenticity." Abe Lincoln)
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To: Persevero
It was fairly common among Victorian ladies of a certain class, and yeah, it's pretty well documented.

Her daddy was Lyman Beecher, a hellfire and brimstone Presbyterian preacher, and her mama died when she was only 5. The whole family was roiled with religious controversy -- her older sister went through agonies when her fiance was drowned at sea, believing him to be in Hell. Her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, was accused of adultery with a parishioner and the public trial was a huge scandal. It was enough to drive you to drink . . . or, in her case, to recline on the sofa and have sinking spells and go to warm climates 'for her health'. I can't say I blame her one bit.

By the way, she was a beauty when she was younger -


29 posted on 06/14/2011 3:35:31 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: youngidiot
Jane Austen? Come, come, now. If you're going to make a statement like that, you have to back it up.

When three such dissimilar writers as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James and Rudyard Kipling agree that Austen was a master, you're going to have to be very persuasive.

Fire away.

30 posted on 06/14/2011 3:39:09 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

I don’t have a good case. Seems my name might be fitting in this case. I just always found her to be too predictable - it was easy to figure out who would end up with whom.


31 posted on 06/14/2011 7:56:07 PM PDT by youngidiot (Hear Hear!)
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To: youngidiot
Austen was the first person to treat marriage as something more than a sentimental climax. She dealt with it as a complex social and moral negotiation that reveals human character. She was also one of the greatest satirists to ever write in English.
32 posted on 06/14/2011 8:18:44 PM PDT by Borges
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To: youngidiot
A fair observation, and quite true.

But you can usually see it coming in real life. What Austen is writing about is not who gets whom but how they get there. From one of KIpling's characters, who made the same observation:

‘I mean that ’er characters was no use! They was only just like people you run across any day. . . . an’ some’ow Jane put it down all so naked it made you ashamed'

33 posted on 06/15/2011 3:38:49 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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