Uncle Tom

Uncle Tom is the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin.

The phrase "Uncle Tom" has also become an epithet for a person who is slavish and excessively subservient to perceived authority figures, particularly a black person who behaves in a subservient manner to white people; or any person perceived to be a participant in the oppression of their own group. The negative epithet is the result of later works derived from the original novel.

Read more about Uncle Tom:  Original Characterization and Critical Evaluations, Inspiration, Epithet

Famous quotes containing the words uncle tom, uncle and/or tom:

    I’m not an Uncle Tom.... I’m going to be here for 40 years. For those who don’t like it, get over it.
    Clarence Thomas (b. 1948)

    My uncle Toby had scarce a heart to retalliate upon a fly.
    Go,—says he, one day at dinner, to an over-grown one which had buzz’d about his nose ... go poor Devil, get thee gone, why should I hurt thee?—This world surely is wide enough to hold both thee and me.
    Laurence Sterne (1713–1768)

    The palsy plagues my pulses
    —Unknown. Tom o’ Bedlam’s Song (l. 37)