Sambo V. Uncle Tom

. jacksons

In these days of historical revisions, it is time to set the record straight about who Uncle Tom really was.

I have often wondered how many on the left – the Proggies – have actually read Uncle Toms Cabin.

I have a confession to make, I only read the book a year ago myself.  I was given a very old copy as a gift, and reluctantly opened it up to read one day.

Reluctantly?  And me an avid reader?  Yes.  You see, my perception of what the book was had been colored by the use of the term “Uncle Tom” as a pejorative through the years.  I had known the story was about slavery, and I had a vague sense that “Uncle Tom” would be a obsequious, groveling, favor seeking snitch, as well as the story delivering the obligatory all-whites-owned-and-viciously-beat-black-slaves history lesson.  But I decided to read the damn thing and get the true  meaning of the term “Uncle Tom” straight from the original source anyway. 

I discovered that I had unfortunately prejudged the book, which is something I rarely do, and this story reminded me why.

 Although the use of “Uncle Tom” is now a pejorative,( and being used as such, is directed at the good Dr. Ben Carson by those on the left)  the character in the book was in fact a man of deep faith, honesty, intelligence, and integrity.  And those certainly are qualities possessed in abundance by Dr. Carson.  So how did the disconnect happen?

For more than a century, the Uncle Tom character has taken the rap for Quimbo and Sambo (whose qualities I have assigned to the infamous Jesse Jackson pictured above left), two slaves-turned-foremen who lived and worked on the plantation where Uncle Tom died. Uncle Tom received the final fatal blows from “Sambo”, a black overseer who had won his position by “snitching” on other slaves, and being willing to torment and torture them at the behest of his master.  Sambo was rewarded with power to command other slaves and his cruelty was without limits. The duo obliged their master, and by doing so were awarded privileges far beyond fellow slaves. They were designated as leaders by the slave owner who perceived a willingness on their part to take charge of their brethren on behalf of their master (which is precisely why Sambo brings to mind Jesse Jackson).  The despicable Simon Legree, Uncle Tom’s third and final master (and the only “master” that had treated Tom cruelly), had Tom whipped to death by Sambo for refusing to deny his faith or betray the hiding place of two fugitive women.  Far from being a snitch, Tom lost his life protecting runaway slaves.

So how did we get to the place where the Sambo character was left by the wayside, and the undeserving Uncle Tom assumes the mantle of the modern day pandering snitch?

White folks trying to make a buck. 

The **reconstructed** Uncle Toms, or more appropriately, the “stage version” in what were called “Tom Shows” are passive, docile, unthinking Christians. Loyal and faithful to white employers, they are duplicitous in their dealings with fellow blacks.  AKA, the pandering snitch.

I guess it simply wouldn’t do to leave the character in his true form as a good man, an honest man, a compassionate and God fearing person.  Wouldn’t sell tickets.

And it had the added effect of pitting generations of black against black while leaving the white hands clean.

~ by ladysforest on April 3, 2013.

8 Responses to “Sambo V. Uncle Tom”

  1. Thank you for your thoughts! I’ve been screaming this for many years on deaf ears. The worse part about it is that I have yet to have met a person using the “Uncle Tom” slur who has actually read the book. But that’s black folks for ya!

    I think your comment went a smidge in the wrong direction at the end. I edited it a little.

  2. Thank you for this post on the true definitive meaning of Sambo. I have copied it to a post on my FB page it is very informative.

  3. Thanks for sharing this Brother Ed. It is amazing how people , even after seeing and hearing the truth can twist it to meet their ideological needs!

  4. Ladysforest is right – a LOAD of black folks haven’t read it and the propaganda of the Tom shows, cartoons and ignorance has worked

  5. This is what happens when we have the opportunity to discover for ourselves, and don’t read to discover for ourselves, but accept the words of other. Whether or not Jesse Jackson or Dr. Carson is Sambo, Quimbo, or Uncle Tom I don’t know. To me Uncle Tom has gotten a bad rap only by the uninformed. I read the book 30 years ago. I must read it again.

    • Well said Lonnie. Like many, I had followed the false narrative for most of my life – I saw no reason for anyone to mis-characterize Uncle Tom. Got my eyes opened a bit after reading it and doing some research. Sad that such a thing was done.

  6. Well said

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