In the 1800's Chatham-Kent became known as a place of refuge for many fugitive slaves who escaped from the United States. The land was rich in natural resources and far enough away from the border that it was relatively safe from slave hunters.
Once the blacks came to Canada their journey had just begun. They had to learn to rid themselves of their slave mentality and take their place as equals in society.
Chatham became an epicenter for this and was quoted as "the coloured man's Paris". Chatham enticed both free blacks and slaves from all over North America to settle along the Thames.