The Truth of Uncle Tom's Cabin

Analysis on the Social Status of an African American

Cultural Interactions in the 1850s

During the 1850s, Europeans started to view African Americans as contributing members of society who gained a higher social status with a more active role.

Individual Editor Analysis

Sarah Sanders

A subtle idea conveyed visually during this time period is the lowering of some of the white men's status. It was easier for the African Americans and whites to seem to be of the same social status not only because the African Americans' contribution in society was increasing but also because as society became more stratified with the emergence of plantation owners and industries, some white men were forced into what they would consider "slavery." As shown in the ceramic plate "Uncle Tom at Home," the African Americans and whites are dancing together in a tavern where not many high social status whites would be found. In the album artwork the white man playing the banjo is noticeably of a lower class with a patch on his knee. Although the African American's status was still considerably low, it was surprising how they were portrayed as almost equals with the lower class whites.

Uma Kelavkar

African Africans started to gain a better position in society as the idea of social equality evaded throughout the United States during the 1850s. The rise of the African American individual lends to the cultivation of a new culture with a blend both American and African roots. As seen through the arts and the time period’s cultural items such as needlework and ceramic plates, African Americans felt this sense of inclusion in society after years of seclusion. The images that we analyzed depicted some very positive aspects on the roles of an African American in society: from dancing merrily in a tavern to interacting with white individuals in harmony. This change in the social standing of the African American is a departure from the classical view of white man superiority. The American mindset was finally being transformed to one of more tolerance and acceptance.