« Stuff You Missed in History Class

James Forten

2020-09-14 | 🔗

As a child and young man, James was part of the British colonies that rebelled against rule from the throne. As an adult, he made his fortune in sail making, and turned his influence to the causes of abolition and civil rights.

Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This episode is brought. You buy Mazda for most of us, it's been a little bit since you ve been out on the road, but the Good NEWS is the road is still out there and you can say hello again with a monster Malta has the ass driving and best performing see you ve line up in the market, and I can say this from experience because they invited the podcast out California to do an absolutely beautiful, derive from palm springs to San. Diego I was completely blown away by how intuitively that car responded to me as a driver. For me, information on the MOSS deceive you line up, including the first ever see Ex thirty data, Mazda, USA, Dotcom, Slash, Iheart and don't forget to explore There are strongest finance options, this episode of stuff- in history. Glass is brought to you by Starbucks. Coffee with essential vitamins is yummy tastes, you love, blended, with five essential, be vitamins. This can help you support a healthy metabolism and keep your body just running in its tipped option.
get more from your morning and more from that cup of coffee. You already love, learn about Starbucks Coffee with central vitamins by visiting at home, DOT, Starbucks dot com, slash more welcome to stuff. You missed in history glass, a production of Iheart Radio hello and walked into the pond, cast I'm Holly fry and I'm Tracy Welfare, and when I say furtively, searching. Today's topic, I was lazy- and am I kept second guessing myself, because it seemed absolutely impossible that we had not already covered this person. I've had the same phenomenon, it happens to me, yeah we're talking about James Fortune, the day and he is one of those figures that has really emerged as an icon in the abolitionist movement. He someone people love to write about a child and a young man. He was part of the british colonies as they were rebelling against rule from the throne and he both saw
stability in the revolutionary war that led to the? U S, gaming independence and as an adult heat, his influence to the causes of abolition and civil rights, and it was Those things are I kept going and I was working- and I was several thousand pages in the writing about Ping Tracy when we didn't do is already did, because how could we not have here well and and his they may sound familiar because of previous named drop, which will get you in Abuja. But yeah did the same thing where I was like did did. Did we know I fully expect to find some weird hidden thing that for some reason we couldn't find in any of our indexes or archive With that I want to do, I go you're totally previous hosted this I'll be like how did I never find it when you ve been writing broadcasts for seven years? It's easy to not remember anymore what you ve done, yeah, I don't, I always feel bad.
We do alive show which I miss desperately. That is truly one of the things I am missing the most stirring this pandemic. That people will ask a question about something that one of us is research, like two years, prior or sometimes even less than that and I'll be like. I don't remember any of this. I am so sometimes I don't even remember that we did that at the said. Oh yeah, there are times we both experienced where we go through the archive, we're talking about something, and we don't remember ever doing it in like one of us will be like. I remember ever doing this and it'll be like you wrote it. It happens it's a
again, if you're doing research paper, essentially every single week for seven years, yeah you care, retain all of it. Now you bring its little crowded. So today's subject, you were pretty sure we haven't got. An episode on previously is James Wharton. He was born on September. Second, seventeen sixty six and Philadelphia Pennsylvania and sometimes you'll find his family's name listed as Fortune F, o r t you and a rather than fortune and James was part of the fourth generation of his family to live in North Amerika. The fortunes had been in Pennsylvania for three of those generations.
grandfather had been from West Africa and was taken to Philadelphia as an enslaved man in sixteen eighties. Although we do not know a whole lot more than that about him, we do not even know his name that great grandfather had a child with an enslave woman that was James, whartons grandfather, and although there is no clear information on exactly how it happened, fortunes grandfather was able to secure his own freedom that is according to James, whose accounts yeah there's no record of that. We don't know what kind of malnutrition or freedom happens, just that it was something James told everybody might yes. My grandfather gained his own freedom. Fortunes parents are a little bed mysterious as well in terms of the details of their life. His father, who is sometimes referred to as Thomas Fortune was according to James, born a free man. Thomas was educated enough to read and write. He was a sale maker by trade that will come up
and an he worked for a man named Robert Bridges. Bridges was born to irish parents in the colonies, and every time he became quite wealthy in his business, and so he both employed free black. ass. Men at least we know of Thomas and then later on, will talk about his relationship with James, but he also had enslaved black people working in his say aloft as well. We also don't have a lot of information on James as mother, Margaret its believed that she was in her maid forties when James was born, and we don't know anything about her. We don't know whether she was enslaved, slaved, no biography bear. Yet. The background is not there. It's interesting because she lived for quite a while and lived with James, but it was all of her story is pretty much focused on James, this story, and so we don't know what her personal life was like before she became a wife and mother. But as a child, James sometimes accompanied his father when he went to bridges shop to work in the same aloft.
and James would have been given assorted tasks there like sweeping and sometimes sorting scraps for potential recycling to see if they were big enough to use for a patch. He also may have prepared beeswax for the sale makers to run their silly thread through, but eventually young James did learn to so sales and idea in all of this was that James was going to be completely prepared to support himself through his stable and lucrative trade. This is all very deliberately done by his father, Thomas thinking about his family's financial stability also went way beyond teaching James. A trade Thomas also took small commissions for himself and when we say small, Weiman jobs that involve sales literally small enough that he could work on them at home without the benefit of a large loft space. To lay out all of the cuts of canvas, he would need, and then Thomas he's the money that he earned through his side work to set up a lending business
so that he could be paid back with interest when he load money to clients, and then he could further grow his holdings that weigh in late one thousand, seven hundred and seventy three or early one thousand seven hundred and seventy four when James was still just seven. His father died details of the illness that led to this death or unknown, but Margaret then left to figure how to provide for her children, James and his younger sister Abigail, reached out to her husband's acquaintances and business associates to try to pull together a plan to get James educated and to keep food on the table from one thousand seven hundred and seventy three to one thousand. Seven hundred and seventy five James attended a Quaker school, the friends african school. But then, when James was just nine, the school ran into an array of problem financial issues and the failing health
schools teacher, so it had to close. Often it kept up kind of a sputtering schedule. Meanwhile, the family needed James to work to help support them. In his time in school ended because that James continued to be a voracious reader long after his formal schooling with the friends ended though, yeah. That was a kid that loved books and Margaret was working. She was doing like taking and mending and and stuff but like to support the three of them and pay the rent. It was just not enough, Sir James started working for a shopkeeper and because he was still just a boy at this point. Remember he's like nine. Work, was kindly cleaning the store stocking the shelves it's been theorizing probably served as an occasional clerk. And, of course, all of this upheaval in James is personal If was happening as the colonies were going through their own upheaval, the James was a boy
in Philadelphia as the Revolutionary WAR was brewing. He was still just nine when he heard the declaration of independence being read publicly for the first time on July, eighth, one thousand seven hundred and seventy six, when the British marched into Philadelphia and took possession of the city on September 26th, one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven James, witness bad as well, because there has been. Son interesting discussion of this and in one of the pieces I was reading about why his wife, at some families, prettily black families, did not leave and and there's a story they didn't have any were to go to a lot of people did not have the means, both black and white, to leave the city when they knew that this occupation was gonna happen. So they kind of just tonker down and waded out. But after the bridge, moved out of the city. Philadelphia became a rallying spot for private tears, and this meant that the shipyards once again became very busy, as investor set about outfitting existing ships for
a tearing or commissioning new ships to be built specifically for that purpose and be the ongoing war which had deeply impacted the import of goods from Europe. This was also a time inflation was a very intense problem, so James in his family would have in all of the money they could get just to make ends meet as he reached his team years and was able to take on more demanding work. James joined the crew of privateering vessel. This was the royal Louie. Me was fourteen at the time, because he knew about sale, construction and repair. He was really an asset for the Louis Captain, which was Stephen Decatur James. His mother Margaret wasn't exactly enthusiastic about this move, but she did consent to it. The plan was that the Royal Louie, which left Philadelphia with a crew of two hundred men, would take other ships and then deploy members of,
true, to fail those ships. James is one of twenty black crew members, and at this point the British held both New York in Charleston and Decatur had been commissioned to cruise along the coast between the two cities in search of british vessels. The royal lily took full other ships with very little resistance. Although the times that there were firefights definitely left an impression on foreign. There is some discrepancy important memories as relate to a family friend later in life versus historical record, regarding which ship put up a fine but the primary take away was a James saw both shipmates and the crew of the other ship killed. Although he himself was uninjured must first voyage was both lucrative for foreign and gave them a sense of pride at having helped the colonies in their fight against british rule. The Louie had intercepted british vessels that were carrying military dispatches, and so that disrupted
Flow of information was vital to british planning James once again set out as a member of the Royal Louis crew in October of one thousand seven hundred and eighty one is the siege of Yorktown was underway, but this the royal lily was captured by the british ship amphibian that happened almost immediately after they left poor and James became a prisoner. He was naturally worried, Rick, mounting later that his mind was quote harassed with the most painful forebodings from knowledge that rarely were prisoners of his complexion exchanged? They were sent to the West Indies and their doomed to a life of slavery, but that did not happen. Instead, James Wharton was assigned by the captain of the amp beyond, which was John basely. He was a fine to be a companion to the captain's twelve year old Son Henry. This may have started out essentially as a baby setting assignment for a kid who is at sea for
first time, but according to fortunes account, he and Henry became real friends and captain basely started to treat him more and more. As his childs friend and less like a prisoner Yet there was one particular incident that three counted where the two boys were playing marbles and James made this regularly amazing move, and so Henry was like everybody come look at those it's amazing and later he would kind of jest that being good marbles had saved his life, but James Foreign did end up on a prison for a while, though, and we're gonna pause here for a sponsor break before we get into that part of his story this. So it is brought to you by indeed have you were living a long time ago and you need to find a blacksmith or a baker. Maybe even a milliner. You might go to your local guild, get them direct, somebody Snarleyow works now. Instead, we have indeed dotcom indeed com is the number one job site in the world and indeed
com. You can find the best candidates fast, with full control and payment flexibility over your hiring. Indeed, provides powerful tools to make your search that much easier like sponsor job jobs which are shown to be Sweden. five times more likely to result in a higher right. Now, indeed, is offering our listeners a free. Seventy five dollar credit to boost your job posed, which means more quality. Canada's will see it fast, trying with a free. Seventy five dollar credit at indeed dotcom, slash history. This is their best offer available anywhere go right now, two. Indeed dot com slash history term. conditions apply, offer valid through September thirtieth This episode is brought to you by Mazda, leaving a pig for you drive a mountain Don't really know the Turin thou well and instead of it being a harrowing and frightening experience. It's an absolute delight that is sickly, what it was like when we had the
Opportunity to test drive the all new miles to see Ex thirty. at the end of last year, out in California, I loved driving that car, and it is part of their best driving best performing see you ve line up in the market. It has. incredible handling it is intuitive and their masterfully crafted you kind of feeling you're almost in a bespoke vehicle, that's made just for you Malta has more, I hs top safety pick plus models than any other carmaker event sounds amazing to you. It is for more information on the mass deceive you line up, including that first ever see ex thirty. go to Mazda, USA, DOT, com, slash, Iheart and don't forget to explore their strongest financing options
so, when the champion regrouped with a british prison ship, captain basely actually gave James shortened the opportunity to instead travel to England with his son Henry James turn down the offer by saying that he had quote been taken prisoner for the liberties of my country and never will prove a traitor to her interest. He was then listen, on the prison ship Jersey as prisoner number forty one. Oh two carrying It's him a letter from captain basely to the captain of the Jersey asking the James Quote, not be forgotten on the list of exchanges, while aboard the Jersey aims made a deal with a continental Navy officer at one point, that officer was to be exchanged for a bit british officer, and the steel was so James. Could hide in the man, see chest and be exchange
along with them. But when the moment actually came, James gave his spot away to a boy who was two years younger than he was that was Daniel Bruton and Daniel made it to safety. It would become James, whartons friend, for life. This was a huge sacrifice. Aside from the fact that there were horrible cemetery, conditions in the prison ship. One thing I read said something: like eight men died every single day just from the overcrowding and the bad hygiene. The British didn't even consider privateers as continental prisoners. They did recognize the letters of mark that had established those privateering ships as working for the Continental Congress, and so that made James and his fellow crew members pirates in the eyes of their captors, and so James isn't really precarious nation simultaneously. Even on the continental military side, privateers were not valued. The same
they were not considered. Equal exchanges for redcoats, despite all of the odds against him. James survive long enough for his name to make its way up the exchange lists, and after seven months as a captive, he was released. He was dropped in New York and walks to Trenton barefoot before, adding feared and assistance when you made it back to Philadelphia. He was not in good health. He was thin and malnourished to the point that a lot of his hair had fallen out, but to his mother and sister. He really thought he had died at sea has reappearance, probably seem like a miracle. So at this point he was still just a teenager gee. I don't even know if he had turned fifteen yet at this time. This all happen in a very short period of time, but a later the war was over and James was physically recovered and he was working probably say: aloft of robber bridges again to keep the family housed and FED This time, James, a sister Abigail married a sailor named William Dunbar who laughed
Immediately after the wedding to sail to London aboard ship called the commerce which is run by a merchant named Thomas trucks, tin and James went with him when James Forten arrived in London seventeen, William Dunbar, went back to Philadelphia aboard the commerce as soon as the cargo was unloaded and the new cargo brought on, but Jane snowing. But he now had a brother in law who could help look after the family decided to stay in England for awhile the young man who was able to make and repair sales, he could easily pick up work along the docks than in the shipyards of London for James. This was deafening not an instance of a young man who was looking to so his wild outs or enjoy some unrestrained party time. He often described as pious. He never drank and was really quite disdain of alcohol. He would say later in his life that he had never had a drop and he seems to have spent his free time kind of walking around the city. Observing the social and political norms of life in London at the time
particularly in regard to race, while he was less likely to stand out in the city because of the color of his skin. James, certainly witness the racism involved in a city where black loyalist refugees from the war were being referred to as an infestation. This was also when the idea had started to take hold of a colony and Sierra Leone, where the british government could ship unwanted black red You trees. We will come back to this later, but the truth is we actually don't really know what James Foreign thought or saw when he was in London. Specifically, it is unclear whether He had always intended that this would be a temporary is it or if he had actually at some point, thought he might relocate their and then later changed his mind for some reason,
There is no real record even of what ship he sailed back to Philadelphia on. There has been speculation that he once again met up with the commerce and took it back as it was making regular runs back and forth, but we do not know for certain, all we know is that he did return home to Philadelphia in seventeen eighty five once he was in Slovenia again has next line of work wasn't on the water. He officially became a sale makers apprentice under Robert Bridges. Bridges was a lot more than a boss to James. He was a mentor, perhaps even a father figure. Although a lot of the specifics of their relationship herbs pretty speculative, it appears based on records that fourteen lived with bridges for awhile, which was not unusual for an apprentice, and that means that you would have been a free but man in a hole where enslaved people made up the household staff. This also gets into the discussion that I I didn't really delve into here of, like the indenture of an apprentice in there is some
discussion. They are to be made about whether or not you are still free person at that point. Certainly, indentures were not in trade learning crafts exclusive to black people at this point, but it's just another kind of new wants to consider and all of this, and we have also talked Michel before about the inherent conflict of stories like this, a person specifically a black person that participates, are lives in a system that in slaves, other black people fourteen family had its own complicated history with slavery, although the fortunes or for and depending on which historical record your reading, in which one any given individual in that family favoured, although they were black James, had an aunt who purchased enslaved p this was not exactly uncommon in Philadelphia and other cities in slave labor was so much a part of the cultural and economic norms. At the time,
I'm that almost anyone with any kind of financial stability or wealth was probably involved in slave meant back to the relationship between Robert Bridges and James Sportin, bridges even purchase the house in James Whartons name. Any trained fortunes have become an expert designer and sail maker. Mrs up pretty unusual for a number of reasons other than the ones that we ve just mentioned. First foreign was the only free black person working in the sale loft other black men worked there, but they were all in slaved. Additionally, Robert Ridges and his wife to Mamma had children of their own, and if things had progressed in the usual way, one of the bridges sons would have been the ones the family business, but that did not happen in one thousand. Seven hundred and eighty six bridges promoted James Forten to Foreman, and then he was made junior partner and in part this is because Robert Bridges, he would done very well for himself over the
where's. He had made additional money in privateering by purchasing privateering ships, even though he himself did not ever sail on them. He was kind of angling for his sons to become merchants and not tradesmen. He wanted to push them up the socio economic ladder and so on, wishing to advance the position of his children. Robert had created a space where James was the one that was on a path to take over the business one day, but to be clear, James was a hard worker. He was very good at what he did the time he spent on the sea informed his work with practical knowledge and experience that even Robert Bridges didn't have, and is he took on greater and greater responsibility. The loft clients recognise the James Sport knew what he was talking about, although some accounts of his life include mention that he paused did assail management system. There are no records to indicate that that was actually the case knew what he was understandably leg: the sale expert, because he understood
what it even ments till I lifted which a lot of sale makers. really know from personal experience. Like they would hire in sailor, sometimes to do extra sewing, who were on land for a little while, but there were people designing these sales, who had really been at sea very often at all, and so James was like miles Everyone in terms of experiential knowledge is the 18th century was coming to a close James, reached a new transition point in his life and one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight Robert Bridges, retired and Fortin took over the sail. Making company
with the help of rubber bridges. He had become both homeowner and a business owner, both of which were very unusual for black residents of Philadelphia in the late seventeen hundred's. This transition was pretty simple in terms of property, but the workforce with a little different. While the apprentices stayed trusting that James Forty could train them. The men who had finished their apprenticeships weren't really as willing to stay under this new ownership, while they had been answering to James, quite some time, as their supervisor may add, some concerns that as a business owner, a black man would automatically lose clients because of prejudice. There is a concern about financial stability as well. James was the only black person in Philadelphia at the time who owned a business, the size of the sale laughed and none of the employees knew what was going to happen. Allegedly Robert Bridges moose things out, although whether that was through a financial guarantee or just by reiterating that good reputation that James
and had without either captains and the shipowners in town. Like that's really unclear yeah, we don't know if he kind of made like cash reserve and said, like look guys, you're gonna get paid. This reserve is here in case. Anything goes wrong or ill this just was like you are you fools. Every captain knows that this is a person you go to they're, not gonna, go somewhere else, because you're not gonna, get the same level of service and bridges was by the way, absolutely right, Thomas willing, a banker and one of the city's wealthiest men really kind of became one of fortunes fur I really like consist in champions and patrons in this regard. Usually patronize the loft and for me eventually named one of his sons after the businessmen. His third son was named Thomas Willing, Frances Fortune bridges died two years after the business chain, hands, so he did not get to enjoy his retirement very long, but if any
had been worried about James, Fort and continuing the firms. Prosperity without his mentors asks standing by in the wings. They really did not need to have been concerned. James for and sons, as it eventually came to be known, continued to have success and to be a well respected business with a dedicated clientele, and this was all the case we should we now, while the country's economic situation was not all that stable up to this point in his life, James had been taken care of his mother and sister, but he also wanted a family of his own and we'll talk about that after we have a little sponsor break, this episode of stuff. You missed in history glances brought to you by the home deep home, with her both decorating. Your home is now easier than ever before. You just start by heading to home depot dot com where you can shop everything, for every room. I took a peek at their website, am. I came away with a beautiful table for my entryway. I absolutely love. It is super cute,
browse thousands of furniture pieces, an decorative accents that will fit any style explore bed in bath, linens, kitchenware and small appliances, all with the right places, whether you're going a brand new look or a seasonal refresher. You just need to add those. Last few finishing touches the home but has all of the pieces that you need and the best part shop today and you'll get free, inflexible delivery, with easy returns, plus for a limited time. save even more on the styles, you love when you use the code history class ten at check out. Find exactly what you're looking for an more at home, Debo dot com, slashed, a core valid on select items, only free delivery and select items. Forty five dollars or more visit homely Buddha com for more information, but this was not a history But it's something you should know your eyes deserve dependable comfort and precision. One contact lenses deliver no matter what twists and turns happen in Europe
a precision. One lenses won't get in your way, bouquet, before dawn, go for it, freelance gig. Afternoon that to surprise virtual hang out with, after dark precision daily disposable contact. Lenses won't stop. You ended. We mention how you said they are aware, just popped the man when you wake up and go the best part. There's no cleaning involves we throw them away before bad and start with a fresh pair the next day, your eye, You're going to love them, don't miss out on contact limbs, freedom, get started and precision. One, tat lenses today, with a free, five day, trial at sea. What happens dot com? I may be required. Professional fees may apply available. Are participating offices? Ask your I care professional for complete where care and safety information prescription only five years after acquiring the sale, making business
I met a young woman named Martha baby. He went by Patty, and not a whole lot is known about her life before she and James married on November, tenth of eighteen o three, but unfortunately newlywed bliss lasted less than a year before Martha died. Seven months later she became ill and passed, and the cause of her death is unknown. James did not really ever want to talk about her very much at all for the rest of his life, so we don't really know much about their relationship or they can send her. What caused her passing, not long after Patty too
find his sister Abigail also lost her husband. So from that point on James took care of Abigail and her children for the rest of their lives for and got married again this time on December, tenth, one thousand eight hundred and five his bride was Charlotte. Banding, who was twenty at that time? There was another death in the family and may of the following year. James was mother. Margaret died at the age of eighty four, when James and Charlotte welcomed their first child and September of one thousand eight hundred and six. They named her margaretta and honor of the deceased matriarch of the family, James and Charlotte, had nine children total. There was Charlotte who died in childhood, Harriet teams: Junior Robert Bridges, Sarah Louisa, Mary Isabella, Thomas Willing and William. Yet many of those names you will recognise because he often would name people after patrons mentors people who were important to him and his family fortunes business
model. As he ran the say. Aloft in support of his growing family was really progressive. He hired black and white employees to work in his laughed, and there was no separation along race lines and his business flourished for the first nine years so much so that he was sometimes referenced in the press and in travelogue, as this example of black prosperity in Philadelphia to, of course, ignores the fact that lake he was a complete outlier they kind of youth, whom I know you could have the their dreams fulfilled, and it's like. Well, yes, but one dream like they re, were a lot of people, not given the sort of lucky breaks that he,
Add in the embargo act of one thousand, eight hundred and seven really meant that trade came to a standstill, so ship sails were not in demand anymore. Things picked back up in one thousand, eight hundred and ten when the foreign trade restrictions were lifted, and then the war of one thousand, eight hundred and twelve once again put everything into a really perilous state, particularly during a blockade of the Delaware River. So trade continue through Philadelphia as supplies are moving inland a lot of business owners just didn't make it through with their We had the intact James was as one biographer put it luckier or perhaps more prudent than many. He did experience some losses during all of this economic upheaval, but he was really careful with his business and he stayed financially stable and he was able to expand his fortunes once all of that instability had kind of settle down a little bit. He also whether to real estate bubble in the city and a panic in one thousand, eight hundred and nineteen and like his father, he
is money to work by lending and he also made real estate investments over the years of working on the waterfront fourteen rescued a dozen people from drowning in eighteen, twenty one he was recognised for having saved so many with a certificate of heroism from the Humane society of Philadelphia. The certificate remained one of his most prized possessions for the rest of us if he framed it and displayed in the sitting room of his home. Yet there are varying accounts of whether the number was actually twelve or not. Some go as well as for in summer like it could have been even more. This is a port city
where people were always valued in the world have usually twelve is where the the consensus lands as Philadelphia was struggling to find its footing as it was surpassed. As a port city by New York, James in his sons had to work really really hard to keep the business going, and it was not easy, but they manage to continue to be respected and seen as a great success. Visitors would come to the same aloft to marvel at fourteen success and his integrated workforce. which was often touted as being about fifty fifty black and white was written about in the anti slavery record in eighteen. Thirty, four, of course, in spite of all the press and interest from the general public, many of whom openly praised whartons business, the journeyman sale,
benevolent society of Philadelphia only had white members and one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight Philadelphia's trade register showed nineteen black sail makers in the city all, but one was working at James, Forten and sons and three were James and his son. James, Junior and Robert, though he was running a very successful business very busy with all those children. James foreign still made time to participate in church and community efforts as well, As a member of the African Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas James put his business acumen to work any spearheaded raising efforts to help black men and women in Philadelphia get Education's. He also advised both the church itself and other members of the church and business affairs, and he would help them when they needed assistance with legal matters as well, but even more than that
emerged as a leader in the abolition, movement and a champion of civil rights for black citizens. He had been connected from a very early age to people in Philadelphia who were abolitionists, Anthony Bene. They, who was a well known abolitionist an educator, had known James S, father and had helped James of Mother Margaret arranged for James to attend the friends african school as a boy then, as I was one of the founders of the society, for the relief of free negroes unlawfully held in bondage, which evolved into the Pennsylvania, abolition society, Pennsylvania, had passed, the gradual abolition act in March of seventeen. Eighty, when James was still thirteen, and though this is why ITALY touted as a big step in abolition history, and it was the first of many such steps that were pushed for by abolitionists. It also meant that aims at a very impressionable age saw first hand how legislators we're trying to appease in slavers with this law.
by grandfathering in their right to continue to keep people as property so long as they registered them each year. And even as freedom was afforded to more and more black residents, it didn't really prove transition out of poverty once they were free and James saw. That is, the number of free black inhabitants of the city grew. So did the hostility from Philadelphia to White Population Thornton worked in the abolitionist cause from an early age. He was one of the abolitionists to petition Congress to change the one thousand, seven hundred and ninety three fugitive slave law in the early eighteen, hundreds and once he had a family James was more
Whenever about abolition and equality, he wrote the pamphlet letters from a man of color in one thousand, eight hundred and thirteen and his desire for his children to have all the same rights as any other citizen is clear in the text he wrote to him. Florida legislators quote: are you a parent? Have you children around him? Your affections are bound by those delightful bonds that none, but a parent can know. Are they the delight of your prosperity and the solace of your afflictions? It's all this be true to you resubmit eyes. The parents feelings cannot air in that same pamphlet, foreign wrote about the obvious inequality between the white and black residents of Philadelphia, particularly on holidays. He spoke specifically about the fourth of July in the contradictory nature of celebrating liberty when you compared the experiences of Philadelphia, black and white residence here.
Quote. It is a well known fact that black people on certain days of public jubilee dare not be seen after twelve o clock in the day upon the field to enjoy the times. For no sooner do the fumes of that potent devil liquor Mount into the brain than the poor black is assailed. Is it now therefore, that the day set apart for the Festival of Liberty should be abused by the advocates of freedom in endeavouring to sully what they profess to adore so named James Orton has been founding familiar to you on this pod cast. It might be because we did mention him and our episode on Paul coffee. The two men had a number of things in common. They both became wealthy through maritime interests. Coffee had started to turn a profit in a shipping business and, like foreign invested in real estate, we may recall that coffee was a supporter of Rio,
asian of Africans and people of Africa Dissent in the United States to Sierra Leone, and we reference this idea earlier in this episode. Although it going on in great Britain but of course that also is an idea that spread across the Atlantic and in the Pall coffee episode. We talk about the field efforts that preceded Cuffy's involvement in the movement which started in eighteen? Ten foreign initially supported coffee work in this area, but he so many others eventually backed away from this idea and renounced it. He had that change of heart large after arranging a number of meetings where people discuss the realities of this plan, and he came to realize that for most people that he talked to you, this is just not something new to do,
Many of them of course, had no immediate ties to Africa and had never even been Laird. They considered themselves Americans and they didn't want to abandon that being a filmmaker and an abolitionist also came with some tricky choices to navigate fabric made in the United States became a bigger issue, as the country gained the ability to manufacture textiles specifically duck, which is the heavy due to canvass its use and sale making. This was part of an effort to get away from the reliance on european goods, but it also meant that the cotton industry which was intertwined so deeply with sleep hurry was also flourishing. We do not know James Fortunes thoughts on this if he ever recorded any they are lost, but we do know that he did continue to use cotton duck and conduct that was manufactured in the United States. But we also know that his daughter Harriet, for example, who was married to Robber Purvis, was an active participant in the Colored Free Proteins Association, which is
the use of anything that had been produced by enslaved people, so there was all certainly in awareness of how success in his field was tied, at least in some way to enslavement, although he also leverage his own success to combat the institution of slavery, and it also said that he refused to make or repair sales for any ship that he believed to have been involved in slave trade. So the ethics of his business do appear to have mostly been aligned with his anti slavery views foreign routinely used his wealth to promote the idea of freedom of enslaved people and the rights of free black people, and his money was likely used to purchase the freedom of several people because of his many connections with mariners, business leaders and lawyers who helped his business affairs.
We also had a network of people who he could turn to in order to stay informed and occasionally to leverage of influence for one's own influence, actually at a very lengthy reach. There is a specific story about a relative of his so through a series of bad events. One of his nephew sons had ended up in sleep in New Orleans when the man that the ten year old was apprentice to sold him and that boy AMOS did not immediately mentioned, that he had a wealthy uncle in Philadelphia. He was kind of too terrified to say much of anything by the way the account reads, but once he did actually say this, the story goes that Robert Layton, who was the man that had enslaved hymns repurchase, recognise
the name James Fortune and looked into the matter, and ultimately this lead to aim is Dunbar being returned to his family and eighteen. Thirty forty was part of the first national Negro convention. He spoke out against the american colonization society. At that event, and the years that followed, he once again urge to government reform and asking conserving state legislature to forego restricting free black people to emigrate into the state. The fort and children also got very much involved in the cause and as they aged into adulthood. They rode and they spoke, and they helped form abolitionist groups. His daughters, in particular, were really really good writers, J,
who's in Charlotte Fortin's home became a hub of abolitionist activity both for work and for planning, as well as just for socializing. Horton was one of the driving forces that got the liberator, which was the abolitionist paper run by William Lloyd, Garrison off the ground. Not only did Fortin use his own money to finance its publishing, but he also raised funds from other donors to ensure its ongoing printing Fortin. Also when we were letters to the press speaking out against slavery and for civil rights, although he usually used a pen name for this, he favoured signing off as a colored philadelphian or a man of color as the two most common ones. but in a lot of cases, including his eighteen, thirteen pamphlet, most of Philadelphia,
that these ratings for the work of James fourteen and eighteen, forty, the Philadelphia Board of Education plans to close the only public high school for black students in Philadelphia and Foreign intervened, in rallying his friends to promise to aid in the schools, enrollment numbers and support for it. in order to save the Lombard Street School. There is sort of sad irony there, where the school board ended up closing another school, because they were afraid that the numbers were so low because these two schools were splitting enrollment and the school. They closed had been the one that he had sent his kids too so he kind of doomed one school to save another, but then beginning one. Forty one James started to feel unwell, and over that summer he really started to have difficulty breathing.
There has been speculation over the years that he may have had to Berkeley losses, but there are no medical records to consult, and it's just as possible that the various filaments and chemicals that he was exposed to throughout his career of sale, making had damaged his lungs James Fort and died in March of eighteen, forty two at his Philadelphia home at third and Lombard on the day of his funeral, a huge crowd of people. Hundreds of them followed the hearse through the city streets to share their respect for him. It was really unprecedented for a black man to receive that kind of a funeral procession and not just in number but book. The crowd was made up of both black and white citizens, walking together, particularly surprising, because Philadelphia really remains mired in a lot of conflict stemming from racist attitudes of its white inhabitants, Gmail
make him who was an associate and a friend through the Pennsylvania, Anti slavery society road this about the funeral procession quote the vast concourse of people of all classes and complexions numbering from three to five thousand that followed. His remains to the grave bore. Testimony to the estimation in which he was universally held. James organs would have Charlotte lived for more than forty more years after dames died and was just a few days shy ever hundredth birthday when she died in eighteen, eighties has surviving children continue both as business than is activism. He had stipulated in as well that the money he left his daughters was theirs and would not become part of any husband fortunes yeah, I kind of love that detail that he was off to go a little bit of a feminist yeah he's such a cool figure. Am I it's one of those things? This is a long is episode, but I had to cut so many
things about him to work because there are Gillian stories that people would tell about him and they are encounters with him. So, as our our usual apology, if I left your favorite out, I'm sorry but yeah I like us, I can't believe you never talked about it before yeah yeah, I'm glad you chose this one because from the the brief references to him in the Paul coffee episode, it was like I near the parts about being involved in the abolition movement. I knew about his shifting support for the colonization. plans of of sending people to Sierra Leone. I did not know any of the staff about private tears or sale. Make yeah yeah there's one. You're really really good biography of him, and it goes into so much detail about sale. Making that I was laid down a rabbit hole of kind of delight is sowing tar
but I will shift gears and do a little bit a listener. Real, that's cool with you. That seems good to me this is tremorless listener. I dont know she pronounces her name, Leora or Laura, but rights, high, Tracy and Holly. I offer They think I'm gonna write you after listening to and episodes such as after your episode back and twenty thirteen about John Harvey Kellogg, my great grandparents trained nurses Battle Creek under Kellogg, with my great grandfather being part of an effort to open a similar sanitarium in Wisconsin before he married my great grandmother and then both of them after marriage, working as nurses in Mexico, opening a health food store and Hydrotherapy clinic in Washington DC and then moving to homestead in Alberta, Canada, where they were the main medical personnel Prairie community Leora. Please write that story. I want all of that information was. She goes on It was the Isabella Bird episode that finally prompted me to write. I so appreciated the episode. I first learned about her on my honeymoon
to Kauai in two thousand three. When I bought her a book about the hawaiian Islands in a gift, job and then I became really fascinated with her and read many of her other books by checked my bookshelf and found ones about the Rockies, Japan, Malaysia, in Tibet, embellished or not some of the things she did were unusual for a woman of her time, and I found that aspect of her writing interesting, including the details of how she travelled, what she pact etc, but over time I found her writing more problematic. For many other reasons you mentioned in the pond task, I love the pod Gaston. I really appreciate the diversity of subjects you cover. There have been several times over the past couple of years that a friend has posted linked to something on Facebook about a historical event, usually a news article. Looking back at an event with a comment along the lines of. I had no idea about this until recently, and I've been able to say hey if
in a word about this. You should check out this episode is doubly business. Every glass thankful earlier, like our little personal pr person, which I appreciate. Thank you again for one. I'm really really ass needed about your great grandparents, and I really do hope. You write that book and also Isabella Lucy Bird is an interesting creature. I think a lot of people who may be were exposed her writing. You know at one point in their lives as they go through it realise overtime. That did it remains fascinating, but it is also problematic sway. Yeah, when we, when we first put that episode on our social media, there was a surprising to me, like a surprisingly large number. of people who were like. Oh no, I just started reading this book and now I'm afraid I'm gonna learn all the like all the problematic things about her and her was like. I'm surprised that there were this. Many people listen to our show who are reading her books. Right now
who don't know red, rightly I like I- can see picking up one of her books but yeah it's hard to avoid the problematic parts of law, and I, like it better, not epithet, I kind of take for granted. But that's gonna be the case of any nineteenth century traveller. We talk right. Absolutely, I'm really seen it happen over and over and over. But if you would like to write to us, you could do so. You can do that. A history pod cast an eye heart radio dot com. You can also find us on social media at missed in history. If you would like to subscribe to the show, it is easy as pie to do so. You can do that in the I hurried Eu App and Apple podcast or ever it is you, listen stuff. You must, in history class the production of a heart, radio for more powers,
as for my heart radio visit by her radio app added mankind's or wherever you listen to your favorite shows, this episode has been brought to you by Mazda It's been a while, since you ve been out on the road, but the road is still there and you can say hello again with a monster. The monsters you ve line up is one of the best in the market, both in terms of performance in and just what the drive feels like having driven the only six thirty at the end of last year. I can tell you that it is a very intuitive vehicle. You kind of feel like it has direct line into your brain and knows what you want and need for more information on the MOSS deceive you line up, including the first ever see Ex Thirty go to Mars, the USA, dot com, slash Iheart and don't forget to explore their strongest finance options from Ridley Scott Director and visionary behind alien and bleed calm seas, next, siphoned masterpiece, the HBO
acts original series raised by wolves in this epoch, new series, to enjoy guardians our tasked with a singular mission to read. Is the last of mankind. Is the role and protect them at any cost? Don't miss Lee Scots television series? U S direct world view with the highly anticipated raised by wolves. Humanity begins now streaming only on HBO Max and subscribe now to the official. Used by wolves, companion, podcast on Iheart, Apple, podcast, Spotify or wherever you find your favorite shows.