When I first became aware of Josiah Henson’s story, I was spellbound. There I saw a Black Canadian historical figure who I'd never heard of. He was a fugitive slave who went on to accomplish things unimaginable that marked Canadian history. And yet I had never heard of him. Who else had not either?
Despite all attempts to break him Josiah, somehow, remained unbroken. Somehow he was able to develop and maintain remarkably unflinching morals, steadfast integrity, and a superior character through immense and debasing hardship. He had the drive to not only survive slavery and gain his freedom, but to make a mark and to leave a legacy. Josiah made a promise to the ship's Captain as he crossed the Niagara River into Canada. "I will use my freedom well," he swore and, true to his word, he did. Josiah Henson defied adversity. Morally brave and resilient, he is a role model.
JOSIAH is a Canadian play based on the true life story of Josiah Henson, the "real" Uncle Tom. One man, one bucket in a 12 x 12 square of light brings one incredible story to life.This show engages audiences with a mix of drama, dance and movement to relate the first chapter of Josiah Henson's life from his birth into slavery to his daring flight to freedom. It is a collaboration between me, the actor, Cassel Miles, and writer/director, Charles Robertson. Once given the idea and my research material, Charles created a realistic, yet poetic dialogue using excerpts from Josiah Henson’s 1849 autobiography and vernacular from the time. There are thirty characters in the play besides the main character of Josiah Henson.
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