James Forten was born in Philadelphia to free black parents. Forten worked closely with other antislavery leaders, such as Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, and was a founding member of the Free African Society and the American Reform Society. An influential spokesman, Forten was vocal in political opposition to slavery. He was also active in other reform causes, particularly women's rights and temperance, and was involved in almost every major civic event concerning the African-American community in Philadelphia from the 1790s until his death in 1842. This historical marker reads, "A wealthy sailmaker who employed multi-racial craftsmen, Forten was a leader of the African-American community in Philadelphia and a champion of reform causes. The American Antislavery Society was organized in his house here in 1833."