Inspired Story: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Inspired Story: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Every once in a while I am reminded of how vast and incredible the human will is. A fire ignites in my belly when I hear stories of people pushing through insurmountable odds, or when I hear someone found themselves at the right place at the right time and it changed everything.

I was recently inspired by the story of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Harriet Beecher Stowe described her vision of a dying slave as a powerful and emotionally charged moment that served as a catalyst for her writing of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." She recounted the vision in the introduction to her book. In her description, Stowe explained that the vision came to her after attending a church service; it was a vivid mental image that she believed was divinely inspired. This haunting image deeply moved her and fueled her determination to write a story that would expose the horrors of slavery to a wide audience.

While Stowe's inspiration was rooted in her Christian faith and her deep sense of moral outrage against slavery, her catalyst was a profound and empathetic vision - not a call from her publisher. It so happens that Stowe was already an established author at a time when women faced significant challenges and restrictions, limiting women’s opportunities. Not only did Stowe persevere in this arena, she used her literary capital to follow a vision! And through that spark, she wrote a novel that went on to prick the collective consciousness of a nation.

Years after hundreds of thousands of copies sold, President Abraham Lincoln met with Harriet Beecher Stowe. He reportedly greeted her by saying, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war." Lincoln credited "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with having a significant impact on the events leading up to the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery.

Isn’t that amazing? Stowe couldn’t have known how her early works, her vision, her life experiences would begin to weave a new social fabric. “A little woman” in the right place at the right time changed history.

Stories like Stowe’s show me that I am capable of so much more than I can imagine. I may not see outcomes immediately, if at all, but the narrative I tell myself and my resulting actions make a difference in my life and in the lives of others.

Tell me in the comments: what small step can you take today to become your own personal hero?

For your journal

1. Reflect on the story of an unlikely hero
2. Who left their fingerprint in your life?
3. How can you show empathy today?

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