James Forten - Inventor:
African American James Forten invented a sail hoist, a device that made it easier to manuveur the large sails of mast sailing ships. James Forten had worked in a Philadelphia sailmaking shop from the age of eight and thirty years later bought the same shop.
James Forten - Revolutionary War Patriot:
During the American Revolution, James Forten served as a powder boy aboard the Royal Louis, commanded by Stephen Decatur, Sr. The Royal Louis's was captured by the British frigate Amphyon and James Forten became a prisoner destined to be sold as a slave in the British West Indies. However, the Captain of the Amphyon son respected Forten and arranged to have him sent sent to a British prison ship called Jersey, anchored off Long Island.
James Forten - Quotes:
"No, I'm a prisoner for my country, and I'll never be a traitor to her." At one point during his capture James Forten was offered his freedom only if he agreed to live in England. He refused.