During the mid-nineteenth century a small number of African Americans settled in Genesee County where they found cheap land and employment as barbers, laborers, farmers, carpenters, and domestics. At this time differing opinions in Genesee County reflected growing tensions nationally. The Genesee Weekly Democrat ran articles unsympathetic to Blacks, but also printed editorials opposing slavery. The Genesee Whig promoted abolition. In 1841 residents formed the Genesee County Anti-Slavery Society and held meetings at the courthouse, which became a venue for national figures who lectured about the evils of slavery. Author, publisher and activist who escaped slavery, Henry W. Bibb, and Liberty Party presidential candidate James G. Birney spoke here among other notable lecturers.