By Jonathan Turner
Entertainment Reporter, QuadCities.com
Harriet Beecher Stowe was a small, quiet woman who wielded a towering, thunderous literary voice that helped change the conscience and course of a nation.
A half-hour companion documentary, “Becoming Harriet Beecher Stowe,” premiered last February on WQPT-PBS, and will be presented online by the Bettendorf Public Library on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m., in honor of Black History Month.
A Q&A with the film producers and Christina Hartlieb (executive director of the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati, Ohio) will follow the film via Fourth Wall Films’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Fourth-Wall-Films-173844695995934
Becoming Harriet Beecher Stowe tells the little-known story of the famous writer’s life in Cincinnati, and how those life-changing experiences contributed to her best-selling novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (1852). Stowe lived in Cincinnati between 1832 and 1850, and just after her move to Maine, she adapted her moving observations and anti-slavery sentiment into America’s most influential novel.
The documentary features writers, historians and storytellers — including Joan Hedrick, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life.”
“The Cincinnati years, I think, profoundly affected her,” Hedrick says in the new film. “Her early marriage, her early motherhood – I think it was hard for her to leave that sacred ground. When she moved there, she was a New Englander, but when she went back East 18 years later, she was an American.”