Charlotte Forten was a fourth generation free woman of color, rather privileged, living in the Northeast before the Civil War. Here is her diary entries describing her life as a young Black woman of some status.
“From her adolescence into her late twenties she kept a keenly observed, beautifully written journal, in which she recorded the contradictions of a life lived between extremes: Forten received the best education available to a girl of her race and class and met and corresponded with many of her era’s most important freethinking activists and artists, including the poet John Greenlleaf Whittier and the famous abolitionist orator Wendell Phillips, both of whom were white. But Forten also experienced the pain and loneliness of living as a free black woman moving alongside, if not exactly within, the American upper crust. Most of the white girls with whom she associated as a student avoided her outside the classroom She had few intimate companions of her own age or race. At age seventeen she wrote that racism produced in her a “constant, galling sense of cruel injustice and wrong. I cannot help feeling it very often, it intrudes upon my happiest moments, and spreads a dark, deep gloom over everything. She found it incredible that “every colored person is not a misanthrope. Surely we have everything to makes us hate mankind.”
Fast forward a hundred years, a hundred and fifty years, a hundred seventy-five years, and you can read the same words from the pens or lips of African-Americans all over this country.
This quote was taken from The Teacher Wars by Dana Goldstein.