James Forten, Liberty Black Champion, Paperback

james-forten-liberty-black champion

James Forten, Liberty Black Champion, Paperback


James Forten, Liberty’s Black Champion
James Forten was born in 1766 in Philadelphia into a free black family whose members had lived in the city since the days of William Penn. As a teenager he served in the American Revolution aboard a privateer. He was captured by the British and steadfastly refused to change sides because he insisted that he was an American patriot. He eventually returned to Philadelphia, where he became a very successful sailmaker and businessman.

By the 1810s he was a leading figure in the African American community, championing a wide range of causes from abolishing slavery to securing full civil rights for all Americans.

On March 6, 1842, Philadelphia witnessed a great coming together of its citizens. Black and white, rich and poor, came out to pay their last respects to a remarkable man who had lived among them for almost all of his 75 years. That he was a man of color was a matter of pride to those in the African- American community — and for an hour or two at least, that fact ceased to matter to many of their white neighbors.

James Forten’s rags-to-riches life was about more than the quest for wealth. He was a patriot who risked his life for the cause of Independence. He was also a tireless foe of slavery and an outspoken champion of civil rights. He would not live to see Emancipation, but he helped pave the way. His children and grandchildren would follow in his footsteps.


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