The Stowe Prize for literary activism is one of the ways we bring the past to the present at the Stowe Center. Harriet Beecher Stowe chose to write her story in the form of a sentimental novel to change hearts and minds about slavery—she was strategic, she was courageous, and she made a difference.
The Stowe Center has awarded nine literary prizes to nine remarkably strategic and courageous authors who have also made a difference, including this year’s winner Dr. Ruha Benjamin, author of Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want (Princeton University Press, 2022).
Like Stowe, Dr. Benjamin writes to prompt action. Viral Justice is a revelation of hope— if social inequities rely on our individual complicity to maintain harmful systems then social justice requires individuals to participate.
I wanted to thank all of those who supported the Stowe Prize in myriad ways. Thank you to those who nominated a book, served on the committee to choose the winner, planned the celebration, and contributed funds and time to the event. Thank you to those who joined us at Immanuel Congregational church to hear Dr. Benjamin and poets Versatile Poetiq and Kimolee Eryn (both participants in 224 Ecospace’s Artists of Color Accelerator program), and the many social justice groups who made the Justice Fair strum with energy. Thank you to Kamora Herrington whose interview with Dr. Benjamin was profound (ADD LINK TO VIDEO).