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Publisher's Summary

A major literary moment: after being lost to history for more than a century, The Road to Dawn uncovers the incredible story of the real-life slave who inspired Uncle Tom's Cabin

  • He rescued 118 enslaved people 
  • He won a medal at the first World's Fair in London 
  • Queen Victoria invited him to Windsor Castle 
  • Rutherford B. Hayes entertained him at the White House 
  • He helped start a freeman settlement, called Dawn, that was known as one of the final stops on the Underground Railroad 
  • He was immortalized in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, the novel that Abraham Lincoln jokingly blamed for sparking the Civil War 

But before all this, Josiah Henson was brutally enslaved for more than 40 years. 

Author-filmmaker Jared A. Brock retraces Henson's 3,000-plus mile journey from slavery to freedom and re-introduces the world to a forgotten figure of the Civil War era, along with his accompanying documentary narrated by Hollywood actor Danny Glover.  

The Road to Dawn is a ground-breaking biography lauded by leaders at the NAACP, the Smithsonian, senators, authors, professors, the president of Mauritius, and the 21st prime minister of Canada, and will no doubt restore a hero of the abolitionist movement to his rightful place in history. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Jared A. Brock (P)2018 PublicAffairs

Critic Reviews

"The Road to Dawn is an honest and moving portrait of one of our nation's greatest unsung heroes. Jared Brock's biography brings much-deserved attention to Josiah Henson's epic life story, serving as a reminder to what can be accomplished when we fight on the right side of history." (The Right Honorable Paul Martin, PC, 21st Prime Minister of Canada)

"Among the many incredible things he accomplished throughout his lifetime, readers might be surprised to learn Josiah Henson was one of our nation's first social entrepreneurs. The Road to Dawn expertly explains how education and economy are key elements for achieving emancipation and equality." (Deval Patrick, former Governor of Massachusetts, managing director, Bain Capital Double Impact)

"Vivid...a moving account of Henson's life and a book from which readers will learn a great deal about the struggle against slavery." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Road to Dawn: Josiah Henson and the Story That Sparked the Civil War

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Made me cry for so many reasons

This book was amazing , it changed my way of thinking about slavery and I thought i had s pretty good understanding but this book is excellent in its reading and explanations and i have never read Uncle Toms Cabin because I thought I knew what it was about , my next book WILL be Uncle Toms Cabin . Wonderful thank you

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Know your history, don't be told your history

Unbelievable true story about an hero that saved and educated so many African people.

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Excellent historical resource!

This story of Josiah Henson was captivating from the start. But it was much more than the history of one man. It was the history of the horrific institution of slavery in the United States. I had never heard of Josiah before and was surprised to find that he was the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

This book is not a dry history. It reads more like a novel and keeps the reader’s attention. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this period of American history.

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great story, history of slavery in USA and Canada,

This story is recounted through the life of one man, and it's fascinating. The story of Josiah Henson, a slave who made a perilous journey to escape slavery in the USA to Canada.

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Excellent story of a life that changed the country

Josiah Henson was a remarkable man who endured the horrors of slavery while remaining true to his faith. It was great to get to know him through this book.

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Great book and very informative

First I really liked the book. The story of Josiah Henson needs to be told more and more people need to be aware of his life!
The book was well organized and told the story in a captivating way! I listened to the whole thing in 2 days - 8 hours straight one day and finished it up the second day!

The last chapter was the only part that I didn’t enjoy. The author tried to “call to action” by naming some things that we SHOULD do now. A lot of his ideas sounded ok but he seemed to stress the importance is paying black people now as retribution for their past - I agree that what happened was terrible and horrific but this does not fall on the shoulders of anyone alive today in the USA. Yes our ancestors did some terrible things but we don’t have slaves anymore and to promote this kind of “pay them back with money” will only further incite the racial divide in the country. He also tried to equate low wages today to slave labor which is not only inaccurate but actually cheapens the horrific live that blacks faced in this country. Low wages is nothing like slave labor - if you don’t like how little you are paid then find another job. Slaves didn’t have that option!

Other than that I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone as a must read/listen!

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A Must Read!

This book is fantastic!! Enjoyed the timeline account of this man's nothing short of amazing. His story gives a more accurate account of how "Uncle Tom's Cabin", can to be and even I can agree, he is his own man, and is not Uncle Tom.