James Forten, possible attribution: Raphaelle Peale, circa 1810.
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Oil on canvas of a profile of James Forten.

Credit: Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

One of Philadelphia's wealthiest and most respected black businessmen, James Forten employed both black and white workers in his sail loft. Active in a broad range of reforms, Forten supported the struggle for the abolition of slavery and opposed the colonization movement, led by African-American ship owner Paul Cuffee, a personal friend, for black Americans to resettle in west Africa.

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