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All Bound Up TogetherThe Woman Question in African American Public Culture, 1830-1900$
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Martha S. Jones

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831526

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888902_jones

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Something Very Novel and Strange

Something Very Novel and Strange

Civil War, Emancipation, and the Remaking of African American Public Culture

(p.119) 4 Something Very Novel and Strange
All Bound Up Together

Martha S. Jones

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on Charlotte Forten, one of the first African American teachers to venture South and work with black refugees behind Union army lines, and how her sense of duty was forever transformed while on St. Helena Island. In the summer of 1862, with teaching experience in Salem and Philadelphia, Forten set out to teach among contraband slaves, of whose “sad . . . sufferings” she had heard moving accounts. This undertaking, she related, would offer the “delights of travel” while enabling her to find her “highest happiness” in doing her “duty.” Through the auspices of the Port Royal Relief Association, the young teacher secured a position on St. Helena Island, where she remained until poor health and her father's death drew her back to Philadelphia in late 1864.

Keywords:   black refugees, Charlotte Forten, African American teachers, Union army lines, sense of duty

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