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The Dawn Settlement

Runaway slave and Methodist preacher Josiah Henson helped establish the free black community of Dawn and its manual labor school, the British American Institute, near Dresden, Ontario in 1842, making it one of the earliest fugitive slave settlements in Canada. Dawn’s leaders searched for ways to stabilize the town without relying on white benefactors. Josiah Henson, Hiram Wilson and James Caning Fuller created the British-American Institute, which provided the community with jobs and its citizens with income. The school suffered a series of controversies but by the time of its closing, Dawn had become a self-sustaining settlement.

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© 2012 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. All rights reserved. 315 East Warren Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201 | (313) 494-5800 | info@chwmuseum.org

This program was funded by the U.S. Department of Education Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program.