James Forten was a man of many talents, and his achievements have been largely overlooked in history – until now. Born free in Philadelphia, thanks to his grandfather, his experiences at a young age shaped him and set him up for making history throughout his life- a successful businessman, philanthropist, patriot, abolitionist, and Civil Rights advocate. His story is an inspiring example of what can be achieved through determination and hard work.
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro invited a few local media professionals, clergy and Tuskegee Airmen to join him at the Museum of the American Revolution for a look at the new exhibit that highlights the life of James Forten and his family. The guided tour provided an overview of Forten and how he and his family left a true mark on the history of this country.
The Museum invites visitors to discover the remarkable story of freedom and justice achieved by the Fortens. Spanning a century from 1776 to 1876, this intriguing exhibition unveils how they navigated difficult civil unrest during America's Revolution while also forging an impact in business throughout Philadelphia as well as playing integral parts in abolition and suffrage movements ahead of Civil War. Through objects, documents & immersive environments – Black Founders: The Forten Family transports us into their breakthrough moments for gaining liberty through resilience!
Take a life-long journey with James Forten, and his descendants, as you explore life through freedom, family and navigating cross-racial relationships amidst the revolutionary and civil wars. As part of the special exhibition Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, you will develop an appreciation for the life of James Forten, who despite experiencing injustice fought to establish life amongst those for whom revolution was just a distant dream. Treat yourself to this unique experience where visitors will be taken on a journey across time and learn about life during a period when fear trumped hope in many communities.
Born during the revolutionary war, he served in the maritime industry as a sailor and eventually founded his own sail-making business. But his entrepreneurial and philanthropic efforts went far beyond that of a mere merchant – during the civil war he used his influence to fund anti-slavery initiatives, including aiding freed African Americans in education and employment support. A true revolutionary, Forten is an inspiring figure of hope whose journey shines light on the enduring power of cross-racial relations and social transformation.
Learn more about Forten and his family's remarkable accomplishments, visit the “Black Founders” exhibit between Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Nov. 26 during the museum's daily hours of 10 a.m. through 5 p.m.