“The only reason for giving a speech is to change the world.” John F. Kennedy
I love telling stories but now is the time to raise the stakes for this blog. And the best way to explain why is, of course, through a story.
If you’ve watched the movie, Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, The Flying Nun as his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Tommy Lee Jones as Senator Thaddeus Stevens, you might think that Lincoln and Stevens were the people primarily responsible for ending slavery in America. But I think Abraham himself, would have given the credit to–a storyteller.
In 1862 President Lincoln met the daughter of an Evangelical preacher and said to her, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!”
That woman was Harriett Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. You might think that the president exaggerated a bit, but remember what life was like in America in 1852 when Uncle Tom’s Cabin was first published.
The country was violently divided over the morality of slavery. Preachers used or abused the bible to decry or defend the institution. There was a gag order in congress that prevented even debating the issue. (Frankly, I’d like to see a general gag order on Congress but not to preserve a national sin.) And because of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 If you knew of a runaway slave you were legally bound to help return that slave to their owner, or you could face jail yourself–even if you were in a free state.
Mrs. Stowe introduced a story into that age that aroused the conscience of a nation. It exposed people to the humanity of an enslaved people and the inhumanity of an institution. And even people who have never read the book recognize the name of the primary villain–Simon Legree.
According to Lincoln himself, it was a story that sparked the Civil War that led to the end of slavery in America.
I’m going to continue to tell stories but I’m also going to talk about the art of story telling and share some great resources. I’ll include video, current articles, books, and other resources. And I’ll continue to tell some stories–that are just for fun.
I hope you’ll stick with me and even invite friends to join me as I take my message to the next level. Please sign up for my newsletter at this link. I’ll send out notices of new blog postings and share information not available on the blog.
I believe I can help you change your corner of the world, through the power of story.
I recently taught a workshop on Three Methods for Powerful Storytelling. That workshop was based in part on this article that published by Blogging Bistro.