Uncle Tom's Cabin Newsletter


The perception of social classes in the early 1850s was greatly impacted by the clear distinction of races in art, the accounts of suffering by blacks in songs, and the stereotypes in children's' toys.

Sylvia's Response

1) I think that besides white superiority, all of the pop culture
outlets also ironically depict the importance of the blacks in America
during the 1850's. Although they meant nothing and were at the bottom
of the bottom of the social hierarchy, whites knew that they depended
on the black class. This was especially shown in the sculptures where
a white person would be held up by the black person. Although white
supremacy is the first thing you notice, I also realized that if it
weren't for the black man, the white would fall down. I think that the
idea of dependency of blacks, mostly because of the labor force
(similar to current immigration controversies in America), was a
subtle idea shown.

2) It surprised me how they attempted to sugar coat the cruelty and
poor treatment of black through some of these cultural outlets;
however, in other sculptures and dolls I was surprised to how
blatantly they dehumanized and distorted the faces of blacks during
the 1850's.

Sri's Response

1) Although, the whites saw the blacks as "dangerous" and "stupid" they mostly depended on them, this was especially shown in the sculpture with the black being on the bottom supporting the white woman who was being supported by the black man. This time era was filled with the abolitionist, so although they hated the blacks they still incorporated them in this time period with incorporating them with their paper dolls.

2 I was surprised about how they emphasized the difference between the blacks and whites through the paintings and the paper dolls. In the sculpture the blacks in an unreasonable way with their appearance, this was also noticed by the paper dolls with the blacks attire representing the lower class. I was surprised with this because I thought after the abolitionist movements the whites would be more accepting to the blacks but after the paper doll of the American was shown with luxurious clothing it belittled the blacks