Who was the real “Uncle Tom?”

Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly, is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel had a profound effect on attitudes toward African Americans and slavery in the U.S. and is said to have “helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War.” 1

The character “Uncle Tom” was based (in part) on a real-life slave. Do you know his name?

Black History Quiz Answer

Josiah Henson is the real-life slave who was the model for Uncle Tom in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Unlike Uncle Tom, Henson escaped and published memoirs in 1849, 1858 and 1877 that provide vivid descriptions of slave life. Henson traveled widely, preaching against slavery and sharing his life story.

For further study:

# Documentary – Josiah Henson



  1. Kaufman, Will (2006). The Civil War in American Culture. p18

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