The Ebony Idol

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The Ebony Idol
Author Mrs. G.M. Flanders
Country United States
Language English
Genre Plantation literature
Publisher D. Appleton & Company
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback & paperback) & E-book
Pages c.300 pp (May change depending on the publisher and the size of the text)

The Ebony Idol is a plantation literature novel first published in 1860 and written by G.M. Flanders.


The Ebony Idol is one of several pro-slavery novels written in the Southern United States in response to the 1852 abolitionist novel Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The majority of these works, such as Aunt Phillis's Cabin (1852) and The Planter's Northern Bride (1854) attacked Stowe for her allegedly inaccurate depiction of slavery, and in turn would make criticisms of abolitionists like Stowe in their works.[1][2]


The novel takes place in the fictional town of Minton in New England, which is inhabited entirely by white people, and coloured people are almost unknown among the townfolk.

The local pastor, the Reverend Mr. Cary, converts to the cause of abolitionism, and arranges for a fugitive slave named Caesar to take up residence in the town, to act as an "ebony idol" for the respect and sympathy of the people of Minton.

Cary's social experiment, however, has disastrous consequences for the town. The presence of Caesar splits Minton between pro- and anti-slavery factions, and Cary himself is questioned regarding his motives for keeping Caesar at all. Practically overnight, Minton changes from a quiet paradise into a violent slum.

In time, however, Cary is visited by a slaveholder from the south, and under pressure from the townsfolk, Cary agrees for Caesar to leave Minton to work on the plantations of the south, thus restoring Minton to its original, idyllic condition.

Publication history[edit]

The Ebony Idol was published in 1860 by D. Appleton & Co. of New York City.[3] Appleton & Co. had been responsible for the publication of several previous anti-Tom novels, including The Lofty and the Lowly, or Good in All and None All Good by Maria J. McIntosh in 1853.[4]


External links[edit]