Home » Abe Lincoln and Uncle Tom in the White House

Abe Lincoln and Uncle Tom in the White House

by The Urban News
Solomon Gibson III as Uncle Tom and Jon Robinson as Abraham Lincoln.
Photo: Carol Spags Photography

Alone in the Executive Office, President Abraham Lincoln is struggling with signing the Emancipation Proclamation, when he is mysteriously visited by Uncle Tom, the fictional character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly.

Throughout one late night and into the dawning day, the character and the president find themselves crossing over into each other’s worlds in a tale of suffering, self-discovery, and redemption.

In Abe Lincoln and Uncle Tom in the White House, award-winning playwright Carlyle Browns creates a meeting in which the two men attempt to understand each other across a chasm of race in the midst of the Civil War. In turn, the audience gets a glimpse into the hearts of the characters regarding slavery and freedom.

The play “borders on revisionist history, but is still as much a history lesson as it is a statement about the value of a conversation,” says Director Stephanie Hickling Beckman. “As Lincoln and Tom form a relationship, they gain more understanding of each other, which clearly challenges Lincoln’s perspective on enslaved Black people, integration, and the idea of colonization, which seem, historically, to have been some of the things which made him hesitate signing the proclamation. If it is true that ‘we fear what we don’t understand,’ as Dan Brown says, this play further strengthens my commitment to promoting plays that ignite conversations that can open the door to mutual understanding and healing.”

“The play also poses an opportunity to correct a bit of misinformation that has been passed on, particularly among Black communities, since the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” continues Hickling Beckman. “I hadn’t read the book, and I had fallen victim to the mentality that says when you hear the name Uncle Tom you get the picture of the worst individual you…

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