From Ohio History Central
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File:Wilberforce map.jpg

Wilberforce was an African American community in Canada founded by people from southern Ohio.

In the early years of Ohio statehood, many Ohioans did not welcome African Americans to the state. Although Ohio did not allow slavery as part of its Constitution, many whites were afraid of economic competition from African Americans. As a result, the state legislature passed a series of "Black Laws" that limited black immigration into Ohio and placed significant restrictions on those African Americans who lived in the state.

In 1828, a group of white workers rioted in Cincinnati and attacked black neighborhoods. As a result of the Cincinnati riots, hundreds of African Americans left the city and moved to Canada, where they founded a new community called Wilberforce. They used their local churches to organize their efforts. Ironically, as Cincinnati factory owners saw many of their workers leaving the country, local authorities decided not to strictly enforce the "Black Laws."

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