Uncle Tom’s Cabin
American written history tries to record what this nation has passed through in its growth, but the mere recording of facts sometimes conveys less than the truth of the events that have occurred. The “event” of slavery is one such grand illustration. History books don’t even come close to showing the barbarous, inhumane, insanely cruel treatment black slaves were routinely subject to under the bondage of distorted thinking. Perhaps of more importance, history doesn’t convey the eternal significance of spirituality in this enslaved race of people from the African continent. Where history falls short in educating one about slavery in America, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, carries a person to a place where it can be seen, heard, and felt.
“Uncle Tom’s Cabin” tells the story of what life as a slave was like, mostly through the character of a man named Tom. In the beginning, he is owned by a “good natured and kindly” (Stowe page 9) plantation owner in Kentucky named Mr. Shelby. Investment debt put Mr. Shelby in a position of almost being extorted by a greedy, coarse, swaggering slave trader named Mr. Haley. While history books are unable to tell us the opinions held behind the terrible treatment of the slaves, Mr. Haley says of blacks, “These critters ain’t like white folks, you know; they get over things” (Stowe page 6). Haley’s thinking is further illustrated by, “he first thought of Tom’s length, and breadth, and height, and what he would sell for if he was kept fat and in good case until he got him into market” (Stowe page 99). This low regard was not specific to just the traders; Marie St. Clare, the wife of a wealthy plantation owner, says, “You don’t know what a provoking, careless, stupid, unreasonable, childish, ungrateful set of wretches they are” (Stowe page 148). Obviously both the traders and many of the owners held the black race in low regard and, so, treated them as less than human.
There are some things...