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Sunday, August 17, 2014

POETIC BIRTHDAY/POET PROFILE

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                           1837

CHARLOTTE FORTEN GRIMKE was born on this day. She was a poet, anti-slavery activist, and educator.

Charlotte was born into the prominent Black Forten-Purvis family of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She began writing poetry in 1856, much of which was activist in theme. Her poetry was published in The Liberator and Anglo African magazines.

Forten studied literature and teaching at the Salem Normal School in Massachusetts. After graduating, she taught at the Epes Grammar School, also in Salem, Massachusetts, where she was well received.

During the American Civil War, Forten was the first Black teacher to join the mission to the South Carolina Sea Islands known as the Port Royal Experiment.
While here, she worked with many freedman and their children. She chronicled these times in several essays which were published in the Atlantic Monthly in the May and June issues of 1864.

Charlotte was a regular journal writer until she returned north after teaching in South Carolina. Her diary, The Journal of Charlotte Forten: A Free Negro in the Slave Era, is one of the few extant documents detailing the life of a free Black female in the antebellum North.

Later in life she married Francis James Grimke, a minister. He was the mixed-race nephew of the abolitionist Grimke sisters and active in civil rights.

Although very active in the anti-slavery and women's rights movements, Forten died in 1914, before either cause won full civil rights.

To read her biography google-search her name and read all the related entries. To read some of her poetry link on to poets.org and poemhunters.com

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