Blacks suffered indignities that ensured their enslavement and severely restricted absolute freedom. James Forten (1766-1842) was free and financially successful.His story of volunteering to serve on a privateer (a privately owned and crewed ship but authorized by a government during wartime to attack and capture enemy vessels) that supplemented the Continental navy, his capture by the English, and choosing imprisonment rather than swearing allegiance to England reads like that of a hero.What few people realize, however, is that gradual abolition ultimately protected the rights of those who owned slaves as "property." African Americans were freed through manumission, or they remained indentured until reaching the age of twenty-eight.While credit has been given to the Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (originally founded in 1775 as the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage), neither group admitted African Americans as members in the early years.
Individuals such as an enslaved woman named Dinah negotiated her freedom from the family of James Logan (1674-1751), Penn's secretary, a quarter-century after his death.
during the civil rights movement, appeared on the national stage. Delores Tucker (1927-2005), who walked with King during the famous five-day, fifty-four-mile march in Alabama, from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965.
While historically, many African Americans migrated from southern to northern states throughout the first half of the twentieth century, many African Americans and their allies fighting for civil rights left Pennsylvania for the South, where they worked ardently--yet largely unseen by the nation--to end centuries of oppression.
Three months later, in September, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission found probable cause that the group's ouster was motivated by racism.
The event bears witness that the struggle by African Americans for civil and political rights continues in the twenty-first century.
When individuals think about African Americans having begun the movement for civil rights, famous names and southern places come quickly to mind.