Josiah: The Story That Sparked the Civil War
Saturday, May 26 at 11 a.m., this story will come to life in a documentary shown at Mine Creek Battlefield Historic site, sponsored by the Pleasanton Library. This one-time showing will enlighten those who have never heard of this amazing historical figure. Including interviews with leading experts and Henson descendants, Josiah is a 39-minute documentary that traces Josiah Henson’s harrowing journey from slavery in Maryland and Kentucky to freedom in Canada. This short film won’t put a big dent in your weekend, but will have you reflecting on the nature of what can be accomplished with fortitude and perseverance.
This sweeping story immortalizes the man who was the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in an epic tale of courage and bravery in the face of unimaginable trials.
Josiah Henson overcame incredible odds to escape from slavery and improve the lives of hundreds of freedmen throughout his long life. He found international fame — including visits to Windsor Castle and the White House — as the real “Uncle Tom” in the novel that fueled the abolitionist movement and ignited the Civil War. But his story has been mostly lost to history, until now.
A dynamic, driven man with exceptional intelligence and unyielding principles, Henson spent forty-one years in bondage before he was finally able to escape with his wife and four children, carrying the youngest two on his broken shoulders for 600 miles. He eventually settled with his family as a free man across the border in Canada. Once there, Henson agitated for racial equality, raised millions for the abolitionist cause, won a medal at the first World’s Fair in London, and became a beloved preacher. He returned to America and rescued 118 more slaves, including his own brother, and helped purchase land to build what would become one of the final stops on the Underground Railroad, a 500-person freedman settlement called Dawn.
The Road to Dawn retraces Henson’s improbable journey from slavery to freedom and restores a hero of the abolitionist movement to his rightful place in history.
This documentary is shown through a grant from The Brock Stewardship. A book by the same title was written by author Jared Brock, and will be available on Amazon after May 15.
We hope you will join us to view this amazing story. Thank you for supporting your local library and historic site!
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