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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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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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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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A version of Don Troiani's painting of the Boston Massacre with numbered hotpots to highlight different parts of the scene.

Breaking Down Don Troiani's "The Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770" Painting

Take a detailed look at Don Troiani's "The Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770" painting that depicts the chaotic scene in Boston that left five people dead and was used to turn colonists against King George III's rule.
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This graphic depicts a lightbulb and, by clicking, will provide you with short essays that put the stories of Andrew, Deborah, Eve, Jack, and London into historical context.

Black Founders Big Ideas

Explore these short framing essays to discover the lives and legacies of free Black Philadelphian, Revolutionary War privateer, successful businesman, and stalwart abolitionist James Forten and his family.
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Black Founders National Standards Alignment

Black Founders modular activities have been designed in alignment with history standards from the National Center for History in the Schools.
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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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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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Unit 1: Young James Forten's World

This unit explores the early life of James Forten by describing what life was like in Philadelphia during the years leading up to the Revolutionary War.
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Unit 2: Black Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War

The purpose of this unit is to help students learn more about the role of people of African descent during the Revolutionary War.
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