Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896), American abolitionist and author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, holds a special place in my heart for two reasons. One, she lived for two years at 63 Federal St. in Brunswick, ME, now known as the Stowe House and owned by Bowdoin College, my alma mater. Her husband, Calvin, was a Bowdoin graduate and held a teaching position there from 1850-1852. Harriet even wrote portions of her iconic book in Maine Hall, my dormitory freshman year! And two, and most importantly, she was a fellow ”quiet” fighter for the equality of African Americans. Though our lives are separated by two centuries, we are “sisters” in our core beliefs, values shared regardless of time and place.
Harriet came from a highly religious family. Her best-known novel, “Uncle Tom's Cabin” (1852), depicts the harsh life of African Americans under slavery. As a novel and play it reached millions, influential in both the United States and Great Britain. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, and provoked widespread anger in the South.
Harriet Beecher Stowe knew that each and everyone of us can change the world, no matter how small our actions may seem to us. Thank you Harriet for your inspiration!