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Dr. R Scott Stephenson moderates a conversation with James Forten descendant Kip Forten Jacobs and Dr. Julie Winch.

Author and historian Dr. Julie Winch joined the Museum on April 12, 2023, as part of the Read the Revolution Speaker Series to reflect 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 was Atwood “Kip” Forten Jacobs, the great-great-great-great grandson of James Forten, who reflected on how discovering her book — and his own family heritage — changed his life.

Winch and Jacobs also discussed 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.

Near the conclusion of the event, Jacobs' daughter, Taylor, joined him onstage to present Winch with a plaque honoring her scholarship on Forten and the family. Jacobs also announced that they would be donating the family Bible to the Museum.

The Museum's Black Founders special exhibition, open through Nov. 26, 2023, explores the story of free Black Philadelphian James Forten and his descendants as they navigated cross-racial relationships in Philadelphia during the American Revolution to become leaders in the abolition and women's suffrage movements.

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A family views the Forten family tree and family bible in the Museum's Black Founders exhibit.
 
Black Founders

Forten Family Heirlooms on Loan from Descendants in Black Founders Exhibit

Learn more about the rare surviving objects on loan from Forten family descendants that are on display in our special exhibition, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia.
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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
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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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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