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James Forten

philadelphia black war british

Forten, James (1766–1842), black U.S. entrepreneur and abolitionist during the early 1800s. Born in Philadelphia, at age 15 Forten was captured by the British while serving as a sailor during the Revolutionary War and spent 7 months on a prison ship. He became foreman in a sailmaking shop in Philadelphia, and subsequently, its owner. Forten recruited black patriots to help defend Philadelphia from British invasion during the War of 1812. An active supporter of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, he also helped runaway slaves seeking freedom.

See also: Abolitionism.

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