Every now and then, a book or a movie comes along with the right idea at the right time, captivating the minds and hearts of millions of people and catalyzing a shift of perspective on a critical social issue.
During the era of slavery in America, for example, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a book that helped people from all walks of life understand that human slavery was unjustified, immoral, and intolerable.
A few decades later, George Angell, founder of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, led an initiative to distribute two million copies of Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. Written from the point of view of a horse, this important novel opened the eyes of both children and adults to the plight of animals.
The widespread distribution of Black Beauty propelled the US animal protection movement into the mainstream, inspiring its many readers to share the message of the book in their communities and to vigorously work for change.
These visionaries of the past proved that our society can be awakened and transformed through the gentle power of storytelling that the accounts of ordinary people struggling for justice and truth can reveal hidden suffering and cruelty in a way that most people can understand. Such stories call forth our shared values for kindness, integrity, and protecting the vulnerable. They motivate us to take a stand for what we think is right.
At Tribe of Heart, we are deeply inspired by people like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Anna Sewell and George Angell. Their example guides us as we work to address the challenges of our own times.
“The Witness is both compelling and courageous. No one of any modicum of sensibility can view it without feeling the greatest outrage and the deepest compassion. It is of the stuff to change the world.” --Philosophy professor
The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, which made it a crime for citizens of free states to give aid to runaway enslaved people, deeply distressed Harriet Beecher Stowe and inspired her to write Uncle Tom's Cabin
George Angell, a prominent Boston attorney and humanitarian was one of our nation’s first animal advocates. He was motivated to take action when, in 1868, he read in the paper about two horses who were cruelly raced to death. Angell teamed up with Emily Appleton, an influential woman in Boston society known for her love of animals. With her backing, they founded the Massachusetts SPCA, which carried out many inspired projects, including the national distribution of Black Beauty.