Henson Was Dresden’s First Black Horseman | Black History Month
Josiah Henson founded the Dawn Settlement near Dresden, a safe haven for freed and escaped slaves in 1841.
He was also the original Black horseman in a town that has since developed a long history of Black drivers, trainers, and horse owners.
Henson owned a Hambletonian stallion, and bred horses. The Hambletonian line is responsible for the growth of the standardbred breed, which is the horse involved in harness racing across the globe.
In the century that followed Henson’s settlement in Dresden, other Black horse people became involved in the sport. Family names including List, Grineage, McCorkle, Prince, Davis, and Guest, among others, were largely responsible for the success of Dresden Raceway.
Henson, it would later become known, was the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom in her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
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