Celebrate Black History Month with a new special exhibit, a recently launched gallery tour, and more this February. Plan Your Visit

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Book cover of A Gentleman of Color book alongside headshots of Julie Winch and Kip Forten Jacobs.
Winch's magnificent biography...sets the record straight, restoring Forten to the position he achieved for himself in life: a 'gentleman of color' and an American patriot in the front rank of the fight for freedom.
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Author and historian Dr. Julie Winch will join the Museum for a special presentation reflecting on her groundbreaking biography, A Gentleman of Color: The Life of James Forten, more than 20 years after it was first published. Joining Winch onstage will be Atwood “Kip” Forten Jacobs, the great-great-great-great grandson of James Forten, who will reflect on how discovering her book — and his own family heritage — changed his life. Winch and Jacobs also will discuss their involvement in the Museum’s special exhibition Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, including the Forten family Bible, an heirloom that has been in the family for six generations, that Jacobs loaned to the Museum for display in the exhibit.

A Gentleman of Color, written by Winch in 2002, was the first full-length biography of James Forten, a hero of African American history and one of the most remarkable men in 19th-century America. Born into a free Black family in 1766, Forten served as a privateer during the Revolutionary War as a teenager. By 1810, he had earned the distinction of being the leading sailmaker in Philadelphia. Forten emerged as a leader in Philadelphia's Black community and was active in a wide range of reform activities. He and his large family played integral roles in abolition and women’s suffrage movements.

The hybrid program will be held in the Museum’s Liberty Hall and will be broadcast live via Zoom. Following the presentation, Museum President & CEO Dr. R. Scott Stephenson will join the conversation to facilitate a live Q&A with the onsite and online audiences. 

Doors open at 6 p.m. for onsite guests to see a featured artifact from the Museum collection, enjoy refreshments at a cash bar, and have opportunities to purchase signed copies of the featured book. Revolution Society members are invited to join an exclusive reception with the speakers at 5:30 p.m.

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A father holds his child as they look at the Forten family tree in the Museum's Black Founders exhibit.
 

Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia

February 11 - November 26, 2023
In the upcoming 2023 special exhibition Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, the Museum will introduce visitors to 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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Read the Revolution Speaker Series with Vincent Brown
 

Read the Revolution Speaker Series

The Read the Revolution Speaker Series brings celebrated authors and historians to the Museum for lively, facilitated discussions of their work.
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A Gentleman of Color by Julie Winch
 

A Gentleman of Color

Read an excerpt from Julie Winch's biography of James Forten, a boy who would grow to become a prominent businessman, abolitionist and a celebrated Patriot.
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