Her words changed the world.

2013 Stowe Prize

Stowe Prize logo
Michelle Alexander, civil rights lawyer and advocate, has been selected as the winner of the 2013 Stowe Prize for her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press, 2010).  The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center awards the Stowe Prize biennially to a United States author whose written work makes an impact on a critical social issue in the tradition of Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 

Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin changed how Americans thought about slavery in the mid 1800s, galvanizing the antislavery movement before the Civil War and creating an international outcry for abolition in the United States.  Today, the Stowe Center uses Stowe’s story to link history and contemporary issues and inspire positive change. 

As the United States prepares to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 2013, Alexander’s provocative book can put us on a course to fulfill  the original American vision of freedom and justice for all.  She courageously calls on all of us to reexamine our attitudes toward human rights, equality and opportunity.  Published to widespread critical acclaim in 2010, The New Jim Crow is a rallying cry for mobilizing around the inequities  and the devastating  impact of the war on drugs  on the  21st century African American community, and suggests that our society has the opportunity for  solutions and resolutions.

The New Jim Crow was selected from a field of 71 entries reviewed by the Stowe Prize Selection Committee, chaired by Debby  Applegate (2007 Pulitzer Prize winner and Stowe Center trustee).   Applegate noted, “Alexander’s work is a stunning accomplishment and with her careful research, casts a clear light on the implications of mass incarceration.  Like Stowe, Alexander  uses crystal clear prose to engage her readers and to persuade them to consider the human rights issues involved.”  Other members of the Selection Committee included Stephan Christiansen (Stowe Board Chair), Joan Hedrick (Stowe Trustee and 1996 Pulitzer Prize winner), Patricia Hill (Wesleyan University), Katherine Kane (Stowe Executive Director), Amy Robinson, (Communications Consultant), and Barbara Sicherman (Trinity College emerita).

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected as the recipient of the Stowe Prize,” said Alexander.  “It is a powerful affirmation of the power of writing to influence change.”

Executive Director, Katherine Kane said, “The Board of Trustees’ selection of The New Jim Crow aligns the Stowe Prize and the Center’s mission inspiring social change. It honors our commitment to link history and contemporary issues.  Both The New Jim Crow and the 2011 Stowe Prize winner, Half the Sky,  provide clear guides for readers to create positive change.”

About the Stowe Prize award event May 30, 2013

The $10,000 Stowe Prize will be presented to Ms. Alexander at the Stowe Center’s Big Tent Jubilee, a fundraising event for the Center’s education programs, on Thursday, May 30, 2013.  Alexander will also participate in the Inspiring Action Forum, a free public program immediately preceding the Big Tent.

3-4 PM Inspiring Action Networking Fair -- Free Event at Immanuel Congregational Church, 10 Woodland Street, Hartford 
4-5:30 PM Human Rights in the 21st Century -- Free Event at Immanuel Congregational Church, 10 Woodland Street, Hartford 
Panel with Michelle Alexander; Mike Lawlor, CT Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning; Rev. Michael Williams, CT Department of Children & Families and Victoria Steele, community activist
5:30-6:30 PM  Stowe Prize Big Tent Jubilee (ticketed fundraising event)
Sponsor & Patron VIP Reception in Katharine Day House 
6:00-6:30 PM Stowe Prize Big Tent Jubilee (ticketed fundraising event)
Guest registration on the Stowe Center Lawn, 77 Forest Street, Hartford
6:45 PM Stowe Prize Big Tent Jubilee
Welcome Remarks - Stephan L. Christiansen, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Board Chair
Remarks from The Hartford (Presenting Sponsor) Alan Kreszko, Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Under the Big Tent on the Stowe Center Lawn
6:45-7:30 PM Dinner Service 
7:30 PM

Stowe Prize Award Presentation
Remarks: Katherine Kane, Executive Director, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Introduction of Stowe Prize Winner: Debby Applegate, Historian and 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner and Joan D. Hedrick, Trinity College and 1996 Pulitzer Prize winner
Stowe Prize winner remarks: Michelle Alexander

Paddle raise challenge and closing remarks: Katherine Kane

8:15 PM Dessert and book signing 
9:00 PM Event concludes











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Accolades for The New Jim Crow

 “The secular bible of a new social movement, an instant classic because it captures the emerging spirit of our age” …. Cornel West 

“ [An] extraordinary book… a critical spotlight on a reality our nation can’t afford to ignore”   … Marian Wright Edelman

"Alexander does a fine job of truth-telling, pointing the finger where it rightly should be pointed:  at all of us”…Forbes

“The New Jim Crow is essential reading for anyone who cares about justice, humanity, and the future of our democracy.”—California Lawyer

“…a timely and original framework for understanding mass incarceration, its roots to Jim Crow, our modern caste system. And what must be done to eliminate it.  This book is a call to action.”    Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP

About Michelle Alexander:

Michelle Alexander is a civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar. In 2005, she won a Soros Justice Fellowship which supported the writing of The New Jim Crow, and that year she accepted a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University.  Ms. Alexander served as the Director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California.   She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University.

Student Stowe Prize

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center will award its second biennial Student Stowe Prize in 2014.  The Stowe Center will seek entries from United States high school and college students whose written work inspires action and impact in the tradition of Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  The Stowe Student Prize recognizes outstanding expression to advance social justice in the media and genres of our day.  Acceptable entries include poetry, essays, investigative reports, student-created and maintained blogs, and short fiction. 

The Stowe Student Prize is awarded every other year, alternating with the Stowe Prize.  Two winners are selected, a high school student and a college student.  Please visit here again for specifics including deadline and address for submissions.