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Black Founders

Big Idea 1: Young James Forten's World

Learn more about Revolutionary-era Philadelphia where a young James Forten grew up and how the city shaped his formative years.
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Black Founders

Big Idea 2: Black Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War

Learn more about how with freedom, liberty, and equality at stake, people of African descent faced opportunities and risks in fighting on both sides of the Revolutionary War.
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Black Founders

Big Idea 3: African American Freedom and Community, 1780-1813

Learn more about how enslaved people and free people of African descent used the promises of the American Revolution to fight for their rights and freedoms as the young United States grew.
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Black Founders

Big Idea 4: James Forten and Entrepreneurs of African Descent

Learn more about how James Forten and other people of African descent managed to overcome many challenges to become successful in business at a time when most people did not consider them equal.
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Black Founders

Big Idea 5: The Forten Family: Abolitionists and Reformers

Learn more about how the whole Forten family, not just James Forten, became leaders in movements for education, suffrage, and abolition, and were generous philanthropists.
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Black Founders

Big Idea 6: Elder James Forten's World

Learn more about early 1800s Philadelphia where an elder James Forten witnessed how industrialization, new transportation options, and migration transformed the city.
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Black Founders

Big Idea 7: Continuing the Forten Family Legacy

Learn more about how following James Forten's death in 1842, the Forten family kept his spirit alive by pushing to make Philadelphia and the country a better place for people of African descent.
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This graphic depicts a teacher in front of a chalkboard and by clicking the image, it will take you to Teacher Resources.
 

Black Founders Teacher Resources

Access modular activities and ready-made worksheets to help your students dig deeper into the lives and legacies of free Black Philadelphia, Revolutionary War privateer, and successfull businessman James Forten and his descendants.
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Black Founders

Black Founders Glossary

This glossary provides definitions that may be useful as you explore the Black Founders: The Fortens of Philadelphia teacher resources, big ideas, and primary sources.
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A father holds his child as they look at the Forten family tree in the Museum's Black Founders exhibit.
 
Exhibits

Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia

February 11 - November 26, 2023
Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia explored the story of James Forten and his descendants as they navigated the American Revolution and cross-racial relationships in Philadelphia to later become leaders in the abolition movement in the lead-up to the Civil War.
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