Dancing at the Destination


From the Globe and Mail. October 28, 2013


Moment in Time  (by Kim Mackrael)

October 28, 1830. Escaped slave Josiah Henson reaches Canada

It was an autumn morning when Josiah Henson first set foot on Canadian soil after a grueling journey with his wife and four children.

After crossing the Niagara River from Buffalo, he recalled, “I threw myself on the ground, rolled in the sand, seized handfuls of it and kissed them, and danced around, till, in the eyes of several who were present, I passed for a madman.”

A staunch Methodist preacher, Henson founded a settlement for former slaves in Dawn Township near Dresden, Ont., and worked to help others escape the U.S. South via the Underground Railroad. But he’s perhaps best known as the inspiration for the main character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an abolitionist novel often said to have helped start the U.S. Civil War.  


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