Uncle Tom’s Cabin Book Reading Marathon

Many folk have often heard me on one of the radio shows or in conversation mention this particular Martin Luther King, Jr. quote as the central theme of the freedom struggle. It is our ongoing mission to accomplish.  King said, “The problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.”

What Dr. King said was true before he said it. It’s true now.  It was certainly true as to why the Civil War was fought.

So as the country “commemorates” the 150th anniversary of the start up of the Civil War on April 12th we should make sure we help people understand it’s relevance to what’s happening in our country today.  It is still a fight for “states’ rights” with those on the wrong side wanting slavery or cheap or free labor.  Instead of chattel slavery now they promote wage and debt slavery.

Those on the wrong side want to nullify the social safety net with attacks on Social Security, Unions, programs like Medicaid and even President Barack Obama’s health care reform as weak as it is.

The states’ righters want to interpose racial profiling through bogus state immigration reform laws.

The descendants of those who believed in “nullification and interposition” are trying, with some success, to redeem the states’ rights agenda.  An agenda that is the antithesis of the meaning of freedom and equality. 

To that end my friend Kevin Gray and others in South Carolina are having a Uncle Tom’s Cabin Book Reading Marathon in Columbia, South Carolina on April 12th.

The reading marathon will begin at 8:00 am at The Modjeska Monteith Simkins House at 2025 Marion Street and will run until the entire novel has been read. Individual participants will read for 10 minutes.

They are telling the enslaved Africans and abolitionists’ side of the story. 

The event is being held in response to the many Civil War “commemorations” going on across the South and nation this year. Many of those commemorating and celebrating the “Lost Cause” want to write African enslavement out as a core reason for the war, our friends in South Carolina feel that it’s important to set the record straight in a historically connected way.

At first blush some might ask: Why Uncle Tom’s Cabin? 

Though slave narratives in the pre-war period were immensely popular, Stowe’s book reached the broadest audience prior to the Civil War.  Stowe’s anti-slavery message was less threatening to white audiences than were ex-enslaved Africans.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin had a tremendous impact.  Most blacks responded positively to it. Frederick Douglass was a friend of Stowe’s; she had consulted him on some sections of the book, and he praised the book in his writings.  Most black abolitionists saw it as a tremendous help to their cause.  Some opposed the book, seeing Uncle Tom’s character as being too submissive and criticized Stowe for having her strongest black characters emigrate to Liberia.

The character Uncle Tom is an enslaved African who retains his integrity and refuses to betray his fellow slaves at the cost of his life.  His firm Christian principles in the face of his brutal treatment made him a hero to whites.  In contrast, his tormentor Simon Legree, the Northern slave-dealer turned plantation owner, enraged them with his cruelty. Stowe convinced readers that the institution of slavery itself was evil, because it supported people like Legree and enslaved people like Uncle Tom. Because of her work, thousands rallied to the anti-slavery cause.

So if you’re in Columbia, stop by the Simkins House on Marion Street and participate in a 10-minute history break – if you don’t want to read you can listen.

For more information call Kevin @ 803.386.4759 or email him @kevinagray57@gmail.com. You can also make contact thru the various links I’ve attached. 






One Response to “Uncle Tom’s Cabin Book Reading Marathon”

  1. […] the best I can offer having only read an excerpt myself.  For more information on the event Click Here. Posted by admin at 12:03 […]