Who resisted and campaigned for abolition?

Uncle Tom and Little Eva

Made in Staffordshire, after 1852

Object number 1913.67.28

See this object at Bolton Museum and Archive Service This object may not always be on display. Please check with the venue before visiting.

Uncle Tom and Little Eva

This pottery figure group depicts Uncle Tom and Little Eva, the central characters from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, published in America in 1852, just a few years before the outbreak of the American Civil War. The book was a runaway success in both the USA and Britain, although it was heavily criticised by the pro-slavery lobby in America. Figures such as these were produced in huge numbers by the Staffodshire pottery industry.

The story of Uncle Tom publicised the suffering of slaves and generated huge support for the abolitionist movement. However, because of the passive acceptance by the main character of his situation, the phrase 'Uncle Tom' gradually became an insult within African American communities. Despite abolition, African Americans would suffer the effects of institutionalised racism and segregation for many years to come.

For more information visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center website.

This information was provided by curators from Bolton Museum and Archive Service.