Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Legacy of Words

Today, June 14, is Flag Day – and ironically it also is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

I love the story of her life and the legacy of words she wrote in a small novel that became a worldwide phenomenon. Not something a woman living in the early 1800′s might ever expect.  But then it’s not something many people living in this day and age expect they’re capable of either.  (And yes, you are!)

That book was “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  It was not the first or the only book she wrote. But writing, and getting clear on the message that was important to her to impart, was the means to creating her legacy. She may be remembered as the woman President Abraham Lincoln called “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war” which of course could never be true, and it might have been some notoriety at the time.  It was the work itself, however, that became her lasting legacy.  For a fascinating conversation about the book, her life and all that history, catch the podcast of Diane Rehm’s inteview with David Reynolds who has now written a book all about it called “Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America” (W.W. Norton & Company, 2011). At that link, you can also read an except from his book.

What I love about Harriet’s legacy though, is how it provides an example of what can happen when someone decides to take a small action on something they are passionate about.  Harriet was one of 10 children raised by her father and step-mother, since her own mother died when she was five.  The family held social reform as a high concern and after her move from Connecticut to Cincinnati, Ohio, Harriet became passionate about the plight of the African-American slaves in the south.  She knew of them from their family members who worked for the family.  The split in views about the treatment of these people – who were still being treated like property – between northerners and southerners, became a story line that told of truths not many people wanted to speak about.

Harriet is described as a small and dreamy woman – nothing like a media powerhouse or celebrity of today. From her deepest convictions, however, she told a story that captured hearts and minds, and now people are even writing about her history.

Do you have a story filled with powerful observations or simply a good idea to share with the world? Do you need support to make it happen? 

Like Harriet’s story, yours may just well make history – or at least a positive difference in the lives of other people – which is history enough.  There are many ways to bring that story to the world – books, workshops, tangible goods, programs or services, and many other forms. It would be great to see your legacy come to life in a similar way. 

If you’re ready to start, it’s something we can help you develop.  It would be a joy to help nuture your project into fruition!

Cheers, Dolly