Benjamin "Pap" Singleton was born a slave in 1809, but after 37 years of bondage he escaped to freedom. He made Detroit his home and operated a secret boardinghouse for other escaped slaves. Following emancipation, Singleton returned to his native Tennessee. Because Kansas was famous for John Brown's efforts and its struggle against slavery, Singleton considered the state a new Canaan. Singleton traveled through the South organizing parties to colonize in Kansas. In 1873, nearly 300 Blacks followed him to Cherokee County and founded Singleton's Colony, while others settled in Wyandotte, Topeka's Tennessee Town, and in Dunlap Colony in Morris County. Singleton advocated the organized colonization of African Americans in communities like Nicodemus, first settled in 1877. Between 1879 and 1881, however, the organized movement gave way to an "Exodus" in which tens of thousands of oppressed and impoverished Southern Blacks fled to Kansas and other Northern states.