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Leslie Alexander

as a free man. There is some dispute about the exact year of his birth. Census data indicates he was born in 1800, while his death certificate states that he was born in 1791. However, the timeline of his activism supports the evidence that Jennings was born in 1791, since it appears he had reached adulthood by 1810. Nothing is known about his parents or his early life, but by 1820 he had married an emancipated woman named Elizabeth (maiden name unknown, 1798–1873) and was making his living as a tailor. On 3 March 1821 Jennings became the first black man in the United States to hold a patent after he created an innovative dry cleaning process called dry scouring which earned him a substantial income His wife Elizabeth also was a committed abolitionist who played a central role in the formation of the ...

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Alfreda S. James

a Philadelphia abolitionist, was the daughter of James Forten, a sailmaker and landlord, and Charlotte Forten, a homemaker. The senior Fortens had a total of nine children, and they used each birth to honor personal or financial benefactors. Harriet Davy, their third daughter, was no exception; her first and middle names came from two of her father's sail-making contacts. Weaving family matters with outside interests such as abolition and social reform became a recurring theme in Forten's life. She was directly involved in the abolition movement, created women's antislavery groups, and helped finance the vigilance committees—the informal organizations that provided food, shelter, and safe transport to slaves escaping southern masters and northern deputies.

However to define Forten s activities simply in terms of abolition overlooks a key part of her personal history and that of the antebellum community of free northern blacks Forten her sisters and ...