Uncle Tom: That Enduring Old Image…

True classics never die. But sometimes second-rate works also acquire unique longevity. Take Uncle Tom’s Cabin , born in 1852. Its best-selling appeal lay in its stereotypes, such as little Eva’s childish purity, Tom’s stalwart virtue, and Simon Legree’s unalloyed villainy. These oversimplified the issues of race and slavery but gave the novel an emotional power that survived transplantation to the stage, where it remained a smash hit until almost yesterday. [See “Uncle Tom, the Theater and Mrs.Read more »

A Man For All Souls


On October 19, 1720, was born one of the few saints and prophets this country has produced. John Woolman, the Quaker, of Mount Holly, New Jersey, is still relatively unknown in his own land though his Journal is extensively read in England, Germany, and France. That he lacks fame in his own land is not surprising. Too many of his ideas ran counter to those held by a majority of the population in his own time. His greatness lay in his compassionate humanity, a quality that is only rarely in fashion. Read more »

Middle Passage

Packed like animals in the holds of slave ships, Negroes bound for America were prey to disease, brutal masters, and their own suicidal melancholy.

Long before Europeans appeared on the African coast, the merchants of Timbuktu were exporting slaves to the Moorish kingdoms north of the Sahara. Even the transatlantic slave trade had a long history. There were Negroes in Santo Domingo as early as 1503, and the first twenty slaves were sold in Jamestown, Virginia, about the last week of August, 1619, only twelve years after the colony was founded.Read more »