WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Harriet Forten-Purvis

“The daughter of leading African-American abolitionists James and Charlotte Forten, Harriet Forten Purvis was a powerful 19th century voice for equal rights for all – including women.” Harriett Forten married Robert Purvis in 1832 and made a home for their children in Philadelphia, where both Harriett and Robert led their communities in the fight for civil rights. Robert Purvis, was … Continue reading "WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Harriet Forten-Purvis" The post WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Harriet Forten-Purvis first appeared on The Savannah Tribune.

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Harriet Forten-Purvis

Harriet Forten-Purvis
Harriet Forten-Purvis

“The daughter of leading African-American abolitionists James and Charlotte Forten, Harriet Forten Purvis was a powerful 19th century voice for equal rights for all – including women.”

Harriett Forten married Robert Purvis in 1832 and made a home for their children in Philadelphia, where both Harriett and Robert led their communities in the fight for civil rights. Robert Purvis, was a Black man who lost his voting rights in the early 1800’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On March 14, 1838, Purvis submitted a petition to fight for his and 40,000 other Black Philadelphians’ voting rights in response to a new state constitutional amendment that restricted suffrage to only White men.

Because women were not permitted to join the American Anti-Slavery Society, Harriett joined with more than a dozen other women, including suffragist and abolitionist Lucretia Mott, to establish the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. Harriett and nine others initiated a boycott of non-free (slave labor) products, including cotton and produce. She lectured on civil rights and in a speech to the Society on September 13, 1866, denounced segregation on railroad cars. Her role within the Society gave her the opportunity to associate with anti-slavery leaders from outside Philadelphia, such as the well-known African-American lecturer Sarah Parker Remond.

Together with her sister Margaretta, who was also an educator and abolitionist, Harriet became one of the lead organizers of the fifth annual National Woman’s Rights Convention. Immediately following the Civil War, a number of African Americans, white abolitionists and suffragists joined together to work for universal suffrage. In 1866, they formed the American Equal Rights Association (AERA). Harriet joined other active members, including Sarah Remond and Sojourner Truth in public advocacy of voting rights for African Americans and women.

Harriet’s sisters, daughter, and grandchildren were also active in fighting for civil rights and the vote, as well as nieces of the families.

The post WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Harriet Forten-Purvis first appeared on The Savannah Tribune.