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Diary of Charlotte Forten: A Free Black Girl Before the Civil War

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As a free African-American living in the North in the 1800s, Charlotte Forten was luckier than most African-Americans of her time. But she still faced segregation, limited opportunities, and the sharp barbs of racism. Through it all, Charlotte wrote down her experiences in a diary. Read her story, and learn about the pre-Civil War days from someone who lived it.


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As a free African-American living in the North in the 1800s, Charlotte Forten was luckier than most African-Americans of her time. But she still faced segregation, limited opportunities, and the sharp barbs of racism. Through it all, Charlotte wrote down her experiences in a diary. Read her story, and learn about the pre-Civil War days from someone who lived it.

30 review for Diary of Charlotte Forten: A Free Black Girl Before the Civil War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Heston

    This was a very short read highlighting just a few of Charlotte Forten's journal entries. I like that this edition offers some historical references, pictures, etc. addressed in her journals. I definitely want to read more of her journals. It breaks my heart how relevant some of her challenges and nuances are today. She notes the apathy and laziness of the church in the face of injustice, she has white friends question why she only reads anti-slavery content and how tiresome it is, and she grapp This was a very short read highlighting just a few of Charlotte Forten's journal entries. I like that this edition offers some historical references, pictures, etc. addressed in her journals. I definitely want to read more of her journals. It breaks my heart how relevant some of her challenges and nuances are today. She notes the apathy and laziness of the church in the face of injustice, she has white friends question why she only reads anti-slavery content and how tiresome it is, and she grapples with her black identity in the midst of a split America. I just want to know more about this woman.

  2. 4 out of 5

    LaSheba Baker

    Great introductory book! Charlotte Forten (1837-1914) was born free in Salem, Massachusetts to freedmen-abolitionists parents. Her diary entries are the main focus of this book with some illustrations, glossary, timeline, and critical thinking for common core. In 1856, Ms. Forten became a school teacher to the children of former slaves. She writes in her diary (August 1854): "To-day is the twentieth anniversary of British emancipation...And how very distant seems the day when she will follow the Great introductory book! Charlotte Forten (1837-1914) was born free in Salem, Massachusetts to freedmen-abolitionists parents. Her diary entries are the main focus of this book with some illustrations, glossary, timeline, and critical thinking for common core. In 1856, Ms. Forten became a school teacher to the children of former slaves. She writes in her diary (August 1854): "To-day is the twentieth anniversary of British emancipation...And how very distant seems the day when she will follow the example of "the mother country," and liberate her millions of suffering slaves! (kindle p. 30).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mckinley

    This could have been longer. Interesting.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad My rationale for selecting the book Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad as a twin text for Diary of Charlotte Forten: A Free Black Girl Before the Civil War is because the texts feature varied perspectives of events surrounding the Civil War and slavery in the United States. Though Diary of Charlotte Forten is a non-fiction account from the perspective of a free African American young woman, Unspoken gives an account (entirely through th Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad My rationale for selecting the book Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad as a twin text for Diary of Charlotte Forten: A Free Black Girl Before the Civil War is because the texts feature varied perspectives of events surrounding the Civil War and slavery in the United States. Though Diary of Charlotte Forten is a non-fiction account from the perspective of a free African American young woman, Unspoken gives an account (entirely through the use of illustrations) of a young, white, American woman during the Civil War era who aids escaped slaves through the Underground Railroad. The primary text structure of Diary of Charlotte Forten is a Sequence of Events. The book is set up as a series of diary entries with dates and descriptions of events on each of the dates featured. There are many different text features throughout the book. Other than a title, subtitle, heading and subheadings, there is a table of contents, pictures and captions throughout, bold words and a glossary, suggestions for further reading and critical thinking questions, and an index. Even though each entry is dated individually, there is also a timeline of important events toward the end of the book. The strategy application I would use that will engage students in critical thinking by making connections between the texts is SQ3R (survey, question, read, recite, review). Students will preview both texts to make predictions and generate questions, answer questions while reading, summarize the texts, and review their notes to see if they have any remaining questions about the texts. One thing I will add will be a Think, Pair, Share activity during which students will compare and contrast the two texts and talk about the differences in perspectives/experiences of the main characters. Cole, H. (2012). Unspoken: A story from the Underground Railroad. New York: Scholastic Press.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    Diary of Charlotte Forten: A Free Black Girl Before the Civil War is a historical nonfiction book that was copyrighted in 2014. The genres include nonfiction, history, biography and autobiography. It is a collection of Charlotte Forten's actual diary entries along with other historical sidebars, photographs and illustrations. The ideal audience for this book is intermediate students from grades 3rd through 6th. It is an excellent look into the life of a black girl who was born free but still dea Diary of Charlotte Forten: A Free Black Girl Before the Civil War is a historical nonfiction book that was copyrighted in 2014. The genres include nonfiction, history, biography and autobiography. It is a collection of Charlotte Forten's actual diary entries along with other historical sidebars, photographs and illustrations. The ideal audience for this book is intermediate students from grades 3rd through 6th. It is an excellent look into the life of a black girl who was born free but still dealt with horrible racism and situations. As a twin text, I would recommend Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes. It is a fictional chapter book that takes place after the civil war. It centers around a young girl, Sugar, who lived as a slave but is now free, although her life is still very hard. Students should be able to parallel the many experiences from Charlotte Forten's life to the fictional life of Sugar. These books show the similarities and differences that black people experienced whether they were born into slavery or not in a very rough time in American history. Students may even be able to make connections from their own history and the lives of Charlotte Forten and Sugar.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Not all African-Americans living in the United States before the Civil War were slaves. Many of them such as Charlotte Forten were free and living in the North. These diary entries show her concern about slavery and the abolitionist movement and her interest in education. But although she was able to attend school and eventually become a teacher, she also faced prejudices and segregation. Despite the heavy issues this entry in the First-Person Histories title tackles, young readers will be encha Not all African-Americans living in the United States before the Civil War were slaves. Many of them such as Charlotte Forten were free and living in the North. These diary entries show her concern about slavery and the abolitionist movement and her interest in education. But although she was able to attend school and eventually become a teacher, she also faced prejudices and segregation. Despite the heavy issues this entry in the First-Person Histories title tackles, young readers will be enchanted by this young girl's personality and interests as she enjoys a day spent picking berries. The book contains a timeline with important historical events as well as important events in her life. I like the unique perspective on the war and on segregation that her ruminations provide.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Humberto

    An anecdotal account of the late antebellum period in america. the author is perhaps the most inane person i have ever read. avoid.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christian

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy Lafleur Meyers

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Keaton

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lindy K

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hailey

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristie

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christine Taylor

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hipstermothergoose

  22. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

  23. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patricia West

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jan Williams

  26. 5 out of 5

    JMCR

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bardbooks

  28. 4 out of 5

    Zakiya

  29. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary Halecki

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