Uncle Tom's Cabin marks Emancipation Day

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Through the sounds of song and laughter, hundreds of people were on hand to celebrate Emancipation Day on Saturday.

The annual event, held at Uncle Tom's Cabin in Dresden, commemorates the end of slavery in the British Empire in 1834.

In addition to an interactive exhibit, there were also speakers and musical performances, with many out-of-town guests attending.

“We've got a good turnout. People seem to be enjoying themselves,” said Brenda Lambkin, assistant program manager. “Our entertainment is I think top-notch … They bring their excitement and their energy. They get us singing with them.”

Babarinde Williams gave a West African drumming demonstration, with singer Simone Soman and Toronto's TC3 Youth Choir also giving performances.

Francis Jeffers, curator of the International African Invention Museum, explored the creative contributions over the years.

Lambkin said between 500 and 600 visitors were expected to attend the 14th annual event throughout the day.

“We always do something different,” she said. “So we've got some good faithful ones who keep coming.

“It's a good event and it's free for today.”

Uncle Tom's Cabin was the home of the Rev. Josiah Henson (1789-1883), who escaped slavery in the U.S., coming to Canada from Kentucky in 1830.

He also founded the Dawn Settlement near Dresden and a labourers’ school for fugitive slaves.

The cabin site is owned and operated by Ontario Heritage Trust.

TTerfloth@postmedia.com

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