Image from the filmstrip, showing a grieved woman with her head in her hands, being comforted by a man standing beside her

Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the Hands of the Red Scared

Again and again, a fervant British anticommunist's filmstrip of the novel shows images of women in states of distress.
Drawing of Josiah Henson

The Man Who Became Uncle Tom

Harriet Beecher Stowe said that Josiah Henson’s life had inspired her most famous character. But Henson longed to be recognized by his own name.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin jigsaw puzzle.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Jigsaw Puzzle: Jumbling the Pieces of Stowe’s Story

Understanding puzzles as agents of disorder runs counter to a common interpretation that associates puzzles with the quest for order.
Diaga Müller at the Onkel Toms Hütte U-Bahn station in Berlin.

A Berlin Subway Stop is Called ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin.’ Some Black Germans Want Change.

Black Germans have used activism and scholarship to shed light on what they describe as Germany’s racist fascination with the American South.
Lithograph of Josiah Henson in his autobiography.

The Story of Josiah Henson, the Real Inspiration for 'Uncle Tom’s Cabin'

Before Stowe's famous novel, a formerly enslaved African-American living in Canada wrote a memoir detailing his experience.
Harriet Beecher Stowe imagining her characters.

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and the Art of Persuasion

Stowe’s novel shifted public opinion about slavery so dramatically that it has often been credited with fuelling the war that destroyed the institution.

Escaped Nuns

Why some antebellum reformers thought convents were incompatible with "true womanhood."
Josiah Henson

Before ‘Uncle Tom’ Was a Bestseller, He Was Josiah Henson

Born into slavery, this preacher and Underground Railroad conductor served as the inspiration for a history-making book.
Jim Crow-era postcard with illustration of a black boy in the jaws of an alligator

How America Bought and Sold Racism, and Why It Still Matters

Today, very few white Americans openly celebrate the horrors of black enslavement—most refuse to recognize the brutal nature of the institution or activ...
Tina Turner singing on stage

America Loved Tina Turner. But It Wasn’t Good To Her.

Over the course of her 83 years, the megawatt star that was Tina Turner kept telling us who she was in the hopes that we would see her — all of her.
A roll of cotton thread in the shape of an eye.

Slavery and the Guardian: The Ties That Bind Us

There is an illusion at the centre of British history that conceals the role of slavery in building the nation. Here’s how I fell for it.
Black preacher giving an antislavery sermon to an integrated audience.

Baptists, Slavery, and the Road to Civil War

Baptists were never monolithic on the issue of slavery, but Southern Baptists were united in their opposition to Northern Baptists determining their beliefs.

The Atlantic Writers Project: Harriet Beecher Stowe

A contemporary Atlantic writer reflects on one of the voices from the magazine's archives who helped shape the publication—and the nation.
Crowd at Kentucky Derby

The Complicated Story Behind The Kentucky Derby’s Opening Song

Emily Bingham’s new book explores the roots of the Kentucky Derby’s anthem. It may not be pretty, but it’s important to know.
A bronze statue of Civil War soldiers on horseback, in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

How Twitter Explains the Civil War (and Vice Versa)

The proliferation of antebellum print is analogous to our own tectonic shifts in how people communicate and what they communicate about.
1836 lithograph of a slave trader marching enslaved people to be sold.

Partners in Brutality

New books investigate the brutality of the internal slave trade by focusing on businesses, and examine the role of white women in enslaving Black people.
Richard Wright.

Outcasts and Desperados

Reflections on Richard Wright’s recently published novel, "The Man Who Lived Underground."
Immigrant mother and child embracing

As American as Family Separation

Though the cruelties of the Trump administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy were unique, they were part of an American tradition of taking children from parents.
Original bars on a window are seen in the basement of the Freedom House Museum in Alexandria, Va.

The Deep Cruelty of U.S. Traders of Enslaved People Didn’t Bother Most Americans

Debunking the myths of the domestic slave trade.
engraving of Harriet Beecher Stowe

A Forgotten 19th-Century Story Can Help Us Navigate Today’s Political Fractures

Reconciliation is good — but not at any cost.