Anti-Tom Literature Exhibits

170 years of literary backlash, and reimagining


Shortly after the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in March 1852, a new genre of literature emerged, that is, the anti-Tom genre. This genre seeks to highlight the flaws within Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Although this genre was initially used primarily by pro-slavery writers to convey express discontent with abolitionism in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the anti-Tom genre has since moved away from pro-slavery ideology. In new anti-Tom literature, writers argue instead from an anti-slavery perspective.
James Baldwin

Anti-Tom Literature (1852-1860)

“The book has been written in the hope that it may lead to broad and correct views on the subject of slavery” – Charles Jacobs Peterson in The Cabin and Parlor

New Anti-Tom Literature

“What was once considered an important, crusading novel has come to be seen as racist and patronizing in its depiction of Black people” – Joel Mathis in The Week newsletter (September, 2022)