2024fri02feb12:10 pmfri12:10 pmFeb. 2nd. 2024 - Robert Purvis (1810 - 1898) & Harriet Forten-Purvis (1810 - 1875) #VRABlackHistory

Event Details

HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH! From the Transformative Justice Coalition and the Voting Rights Alliance. We hope you enjoy our #VRABlackHistory Series 2024

Robert Purvis (1810 – 1898) & Harriet Forten-Purvis (1810 – 1875)
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The Transformative Justice Coalition and the Voting Rights Alliance, in honor of Black History Month, are reviving the daily special series devoted to sharing the legacies and stories of the sheroes, heroes, and events in the fight for Black suffrage. This series was created in 2017 and will add 13 NEW articles this year. In addition to these daily newsletters all February long, this series also incorporates daily social media posts; an interactive calendar; and, website blog posts to spread the word broadly.

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This article is written by Caitlyn Caitlyn Arnwine (formerly Caitlyn Cobb) All the sources are linked throughout the article in green. Robert Purvis’ section of this article was originally written in 2017 and updated in 2018. His wife, Harriet Forten Purvis was added to this article in 2020,

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Today, February 2nd, 2024, we honor both Robert Purvis, and his wife, Harriet Forten-Purvis. See their individual sections below to find out why!

Today we honor Robert Purvis, 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.

“Despite the massive effort put into the Appeal of Forty Thousand and similar documents, the citizens of Pennsylvania ratified the new state constitution on October 9, 1838. African Americans would not regain the right to vote in Pennsylvania until the 15th Amendment was passed in 1869. Although the Appeal of Forty Thousand did not successfully move white Pennsylvanians, it represented the beginning of a massive civil rights movement targeting the institutions of slavery and discrimination. The actions of early activists like Robert Purvis set African Americans on the path to the political freedom that would be gained by the end of the 19th century.”

Click here to read the petition.
Click Here to read about Robert Purvis’ background
 Recommended Reading:

Today, we also honor Harriet Forten-Purvis, Robert’s wife. “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…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.

Click Here to read more about the women of the Forten & Purvis families in the movement for Black suffrage
Click Here to read more in-depth about the Forten Sisters
“Robert Purvis founded Philadelphia Vigilance Committee in 1837, and after he and Harriett used their Philadelphia home to harbor escaped slaves, he became known as the father of the Underground Railroad. Later, to escape a violent backlash, the couple retreated to the rural community of Byberry, where their home, Harmony Hall, because a prominent station on the Underground Railroad.”
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~Sources~ 

http://www.americanyawp.com/reader/democracy-in-america/black-philadelphians-defend-their-voting-rights-1838/

http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/historians-and-chronicles/historians-miscellaneous-biographies/james-forten

http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/historians-and-chronicles/historians-miscellaneous-biographies/robert-purvis#1G23444701040

http://digitalhistory.hsp.org/pafrm/doc/appeal

https://suffragistmemorial.org/harriet-forten-purvis-1810-1875/

http://www.womenhistoryblog.com/2017/01/the-forten-sisters.html

http://civilwaref.blogspot.com/2014/08/robert-purvis-born-august-4-1810.html

Picture Credits:

http://skillington.deviantart.com/art/Robert-Purvis-405936507

https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Harriet_Forten_Purvis

http://www.womenhistoryblog.com/2017/01/the-forten-sisters.html

https://www.nps.gov/people/robert-purvis.htm

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