Three stories from the American Icons series. How “Amazing Grace,” a song written by a slave trader, came to be a civil rights anthem. Plus, a novel that featured “Amazing Grace” and helped popularize it, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book helped promote the abolitionist cause, yet the term “Uncle Tom” became a pejorative for people who betray their race. And far from glorifying small-town life, Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology” shocked readers when it came out in 1915 and tackled subjects like suicide and sex.
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