Based on her diaries and letters, a compelling biography presents an account of the Civil War from the point of view of a black woman who lived an independent life when neither women nor African Americans had many freedoms.
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Grade 5-8-In 1853, 16-year-old Charlotte Forten began keeping a diary, recording events of her life and her observations of the civil rights struggles of African Americans. Her journals and letters offer a 30-year personal perspective. Forten was born into a prosperous African American, Philadelphia family headed by her influential grandfather, abolitionist James Forten. In 1862, she sailed to Port Royal, South Carolina, to teach the children of contrabands living on the Union-held Sea Islands. Plagued by "lung fever," Forten returned North and eventually settled in Washington, D.C., where she taught, wrote essays and poetry, and married Reverend Francis Grimke. She continued to be an outspoken supporter and activist for the rights of African Americans. Readers will experience history firsthand as Forten recounts her anxiety over fugitive slave Anthony Burns; her excitement when celebrating Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation; and her grief over the death of a close friend and heroic leader of the famed 54th Massachusetts Volunteers. A well-documented, effective mix of primary sources and historic information, this biography adds an appealing personality to the gallery of African American portraits.
Gerry Larson, Durham Magnet Center, Durham, NC
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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