6:07 PM / Monday November 20, 2017

11 Mar 2014

Remembering Charlotte Forten: Writer, teacher, abolitionist

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March 11, 2014 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Charlotte Forten (insert.)


The Moonstone Arts Center this month is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the death of Charlotte Forten, a 19th century free woman of color, whose professional accomplishments and Civil War era writings are nothing short of extraordinary.

The week- long observance begins March 8 and will feature some of the area’s most well known authors and scholars as well as films, lectures and symposia.

Charlotte Forten was born Aug. 17, 1837, in Philadelphia, PA. She kept a diary of her involvement with the abolition movement and became the first African American hired to teach white students in Salem, Mass. In 1862, Forten participated in the Port Royal Experiment, educating ex-slaves on St. Helena Island, South Carolina and recorded her experiences in a series of essays. She died in 1914.

Educator, writer and activist, Charlotte Forten was born into a wealthy and influential African American family. Her diaries chronicle the social and political issues of the times—the fight to end slavery, the Civil War and the state of race relations.


Her grandfather, James Forten, made a fortune with an invention that assisted sailors with heavy sails. He was an outspoken abolitionist and supporter of William Lloyd Garrison’s antislavery publication, The Liberator.

Program highlights:

Sunday, March 9, 2014; 11 AM & 1PM

Mother Bethel AME Church: “State of Education: From Charlotte Forten to Today:

Lead by Rev. Mark K. Tyler, Pastor


Monday, March 10; 5:30 PM

Free Library, (Independence Branch (18 S. 7th Street) 215-685-1633

Film excerpt “Charlotte Forten’s Mission”


Wednesday, March 12; 6 PM 

$8 General Admission African American Museum, 701 Arch Street 215-574-0380 “Invented Lives” A discussion on African American Women’s Narrative with Sonia Sanchez, Nzadi Keita and Dr. Virgilette Nzinhgha Gaffin


Thursday, March 13; 7 PM

District 1199C Health Care Employees Headquarters 215-735-8342

“Charlotte Forten: Race and Education” Discussion with Erica A. Dunbar, Emma Lapansky-Warnerand Sarah Patterson


Friday, March 14; 6 PM

Samuel Paley Library, Temple Univ. 1210 Polett Walk 215-204-0744

“The Education of Black People” A discussion with Allan Ballard, Michael Coard, Esq. and Camika Royal

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