In Time for Bicentennial of H. B. Stowe’s Birth: DVD Helps Educators Reconsider Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Improve Race Relations in the Nation’s Future

June 14, 2010

NEW YORK, June 14 /PRNewswire/ — A DVD edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin: H. B. Stowe, Aiken and Edison will be launched on June 14, 2010 by Plays of Protest in advance of the Stowe bicentennial to give libraries and schools time to consider and acquire it before June 14, 2011.

This triple media item (play, film and book) demonstrates how racism developed so it can be more effectively fought today. Viewers will see a dramatization of Aiken’s 1852 play, as well as the Thomas Edison silent film version (1903) and can print a handbook of over twenty different discussions from 1850 to 2006, detailing and critiquing the extraordinary history and reception of this work.

More people saw Uncle Tom’s Cabin on stage than read the novel. Unfortunately, since no copyright laws existed to protect the original play, many alternate dramatizations arose, distorted by unethical money-makers and racists, resulting in the false portrayal of Uncle Tom. This DVD, like Aiken’s version, is quite true to the novel. It portrays iconic scenes: a horrifying slave auction; Eliza crossing the ice with her baby; Topsy confronting Ophelia; Little Eva begging her father to free his slaves; Legree beating Tom. Here Tom, a fervent Christian, never betrays his religious beliefs. After being killed by Legree, he is reunited with Little Eva in heaven. All the actors’ performances ring true and the characters have real depth.

Students who find the novel difficult will discover that Uncle Tom’s Cabin is heart-rending. In the words of reviewer Professor Susan Belasco (co-editor of Approaches to Teaching Uncle Tom’s Cabin), ” … Jiji’s imaginative film, a skillful condensation of Aiken’s play … is a powerful visual and auditory experience which reveals the ongoing appeal of a story that helped cause the United States Civil War.”

Added reviewer Prof. R. L’Heureux Lewis, Black Studies Department at CCNY, ” … Jiji has returned luster and value to the work in a way that allows contemporary audiences to experience the play’s original import. A must-see for students, scholars and serious lovers of history.”

The included handbook offers authoritative studies by Prof. Elizabeth Ammons, Daniel Gerould, Edmund Wilson and Leslie Fiedler, and observations by, among many others, Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. DuBois, Josiah Henson, James Baldwin and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Studied together, these materials place the work in its extraordinary historical, theatrical, social, and critical contexts and give viewers a thorough understanding of the nature of slavery as well as the many contrasting depictions of slavery that still so deeply affect American life.

Available through Amazon.com. See also: http://www.PlaysofProtest.com


    Dr. Vera Jiji

This press release was issued through eReleases(R). For more information, visit eReleases Press Release Distribution at http://www.ereleases.com.

SOURCE Plays of Protest

Source: newswire

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