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'Uncle Tom's Cabin' reflects U.S. past

June 25, 2006 at 7:34 PM

BETHESDA, Md., June 25 (UPI) -- Tours of the Maryland site that supposedly inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" began this weekend.

The 18th century cabin in Bethesda symbolizes the nation's history of slavery and how far the United States has come since then, The Washington Post said.

"Uncle Tom is America. This cabin tells us where we were and where we have to go," tour guide Warren Fleming told those on the tour. "This is something for our kids. When they're brought up today, they don't know this kind of history, they don't know what it was to be a slave in Maryland."

The history behind Uncle Tom's Cabin is the story of Josiah Henson who was born a slave until eventually escaping through the Underground Railroad.

"A lot of African Americans such as me took the term Uncle Tom as a negative, you know being sold out ... But really it's not. It's a term of survival," Fleming said of Henson.

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