New name for Uncle Tom’s Cabin historic site to reclaim Josiah Henson’s legacy – London


A historic site southwest of London, Ontario dedicated to preserving an important part of Canada’s Black history has been renamed in an effort to reclaim the legacy of Josiah Henson, abolitionist, preacher and Conductor of the Underground Railroad.

The Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, located in Dresden, is now the Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History.

The Ontario Heritage Trust unveiled the new name on Saturday and says it’s a positive step forward as the museum moves away from the negative connotation associated with the term « Uncle Tom » and offers additional recognition to an important figure in the abolitionist movement in the United States and Canada. .

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« Henson was an outstanding leader who embodied bravery and perseverance, » said museum director Steven Cook. “During his lifetime, Henson expressed a desire to reclaim his name and his legacy. We are honored to help make this a reality.

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Cook says the name Uncle Tom dates back to 1852 when the famous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabinhas been published.

The book, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, tells the story of life on a plantation in the southern United States.

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Henson was born into slavery in Maryland and was a slave for 30 years before finally escaping to Canada via the Underground Railroad. He « started a colony here in little old Dresden which was one of the very first schools of manual labor ever established in our country, » Cook said.

In his role as conductor, Henson rescued 118 slaves.

The Josiah Henson Museum of African Canadian History is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

— With files from Mike Stubbs and Andrew Graham of 980 CFPL

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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