Uncle Tom’s Cabin & Maya Angelou

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was an anti-slavery book written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. This book helped fuel the abolitionist cause and made other countries such as Great Britain more aware of the horrors of slavery. It became the second best selling book of the century following the Bible with 300,000 copies sold in the U.S. and one million sold in Great Britain.

Reactions that followed this book opened the gap in the nation even more. It made more people in the North for the abolitionist cause because of the horrors detailed in the story, and it outraged southerners such as novelist William Gilmore Simms who declared the work utterly false. Some southerners sent threatening letters to Stowe with one of them containing a slave’s severed ear. Upon meeting the author, Abraham Lincoln greeted her by saying “So this is the little lady who started this great war.”

Maya Angelou was an author and poet who was also a civil rights activist. She was a good friend of Martin Luther King Jr. and as a result stopped celebrating her birthday following his assassination that occurred on the same day. She instead sent flowers to Mrs. King annually to remember that day.

Maya wrote seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows. Her first autobiography titled “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” brought her fame and recognition. She was even a journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa. In 1993 she recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” during Bill Clinton’s inaugural address which made her the first poet  to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost in 1961.