Uncle Tom's Cabin Newsletter

Josephine Sun and Padmashree Pandy (2/3)


The relationship between whites and free blacks, as shown in Uncle tom's Cabin, demonstrates an improved relationship, yet still adverse in equality as Blacks, whether free or slave, are still considered inferior to the white man as the culture that white people have been surrounded by admonishes them as lesser and not equals.

Questions (Padmashree Pandy)

A. The idea that children (especially white children) are heavily influenced by their parents, is subtly evident in the time period. In many images of Uncle Tom's Cabin, young white children are seen content in the presence of black men. This shows that children do not have the notion initially to be discriminating, but through the influence of their slave holding parents, they grow up to be racist and overbearing towards black people.

B. I find it surprising that the free black man supposedly looks like he has a lot of power and wealth, almost that of a white man of the middle class. In all the pictures showing free black men, they seemed to be well dressed and seem to have a decent house. What surprises me about this is that if they apparently have a lot of power due to their economic standard (which was how power was measured in America at the time) then why could not they stand up more to free the blacks who were still slaves at the time, as more of the south consisted of black slaves in this point of time.

Questions (Josephine Sun)

A. The subtle ideas that are conveyed visually during this time period are that while the free blacks are being treated with more equality, some images still display differences between the two races through the depiction of character. In many of the images, the whites are still depicted as being more refined, while the blacks, children and man, are being depicted as less docile and more rowdy. Overall, the relationship between the blacks and whites appears to be in a range of states, from good to bad, but nonetheless, their relationships are beginning to improve.

B.The most surprising thing about the images that I examined was that while there were many images depicting inequality and prejudice against the blacks, there were equally as many images that showed improved relations between the free blacks and white people. These improved relations were most commonly depicted between the white children and the Black men, which I found to be rather reasonable.