Trinity's Joan Hedrick Interviewed in Upcoming PBS Series “The Abolitionists”

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Discusses Impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe

Joan Hedrick, Trinity’s Charles A. Dana Professor of History and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life, was interviewed for the new PBS “American Experience” film, "The Abolitionists." The three-part docudrama, part documentary and part historical re-enactment that airs beginning Tuesday, January 8,  includes the story of the influence of Stowe’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the resulting spotlight placed on the author, a Hartford native. 

The show, produced by Sharon Grimberg, tells the story of the anti-slavery movement, which was galvanized by the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Three Connecticut professors, including Hedrick, Yale Professor David W. Blight, and Wesleyan Professor Lois Brown, are among approximately a dozen historians and writers from around the country interviewed for the series.

Additionally, Professor Hedrick will participate in a panel discussion on Monday, January 7, sponsored by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford. The panel discussion will follow an advance screening of episode two of "The Abolitionists" that begins at 6:30 p.m. at Wallace Stevens Theater at The Hartford, 690 Asylum Ave. in Hartford. The panel will also include producer Sharon Grimberg, Wesleyan Professor Lois Brown, and Stowe Center Director Katherine Kane.  Admission is free, but reservations should be made at: or (860) 522-9258, ext. 305.

Harriet Beecher Stowe was an abolitionist who fought to end slavery through her most famous novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Although women were not allowed to speak in public forums, Stowe shared her anti-slavery views in numerous articles in national publications.   In 1862 she traveled to Washington to meet with President Abraham Lincoln and encourage him to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.  On January 1, 1863, when news came to a waiting crowd in Boston that Lincoln had signed the document, the group called for Stowe, who came out to be recognized.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center will present a series of provocative tours and programs beginning this month,  titled “The Emancipation Proclamation at 150: Still Relevant, Still Revolutionary.”

"American Experience: The Abolitionists" can be seen on CPTV on Tuesday, January 8 at 9:00 p.m., and will run throughout January.  For a full schedule of listings and for details on the show, visit

Click here to view the trailer.