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Charlotte Forten - Early Activist



Charlotte Forten - Early Activist
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.41

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    history-changing, influential, happening, teaching, wealthy, successful, midst, soul, reading, slavery, critical, poetry, education, early, journalist, improve
     content words:    Charlotte Forten, James Forten, Robert Forten, Philadelphia Vigilant Committee, Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, Higginson Grammar School, Normal School, Margaret Fuller, William Wordsworth, William Lloyd Garrison


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Charlotte Forten - Early Activist
By Jane Runyon
  

1     Not all blacks in the early 1800s were slaves. Charlotte Forten was born in 1837 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her parents were wealthy. She grew up surrounded by nice things and famous people. Charlotte's grandfather, James Forten, was a successful sail maker in Philadelphia. He was also an abolitionist. He hated slavery and wanted to abolish it. Charlotte's father, Robert Forten, was a lawyer. He was an important member of the Philadelphia Vigilant Committee. This group did whatever it could to help slaves escape to freedom. Charlotte's mother was a prominent member of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.
 
2     Charlotte was sent to a private school for her early education. It was probably hard for her at Higginson Grammar School. There were 200 students in the school. Charlotte was the only student who was not white. It was at Higginson that Charlotte was taught the skills she needed for critical thinking. After grammar school, Charlotte went to Normal School in Salem, Massachusetts. A Normal School trained teachers. She indulged her love of reading by becoming familiar with the writings of Shakespeare, Milton, Margaret Fuller, and William Wordsworth.
 
3     While growing up, Charlotte's home had been visited by many of the most influential people of the time. On any day, you might have seen William Lloyd Garrison, noted journalist and abolitionist, or John Greenleaf Whittier, poet, in the Forten home. Charlotte was surrounded by prominent people with popular and not so popular views of what was happening in the country.

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