Chapter

Charlotte Forten (1837–1914)

Edited by Louis P. Masur

in “… The Real War Will Never Get in the Books”

Published in print September 1995 | ISBN: 9780195098372
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853908 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195098372.003.0008
Charlotte Forten (1837–1914)

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After an arduous journey that challenged her romantic notions of voyage at sea, Charlotte Forten arrived at Port Royal on October 1862. From that moment on, Forten became a student of nature and character. She turned to her journal as a creative outlet. She prayed for liberation, her own as well as the slave's, and in the Southern heat she at times exulted over it. She longed to understand and help the newly emancipated slaves. That meant trying to force black residents of the Sea Islands into literary tropes, as when she wanted to hear some oarsmen sing Whittier's “Song of the Negro Boatman.” Helping the freedmen cause also meant inspiring her students to achieve great things and introducing them to the middle-class values she believed they would need to get ahead. She was enraptured by the culture of the blacks, by the stories of struggle and triumph, and by the deep spirituality that permeated the lives of freed slaves.

Keywords: Charlotte Forten; liberation; slaves; Sea Islands; blacks; Port Royal; freedmen

Chapter.  9670 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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