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Salem State honors Charlotte Forten’s legacy

Salem State University recently opened the Charlotte Forten Legacy Room to honor its first African-American graduate. Located on the third floor of Meier Hall, the room features an exhibit detailing the life and work of Forten, a 19th century abolitionist, diarist, poet, educator, and translator who in addition to fighting against slavery was an advocate for women’s rights and education for all. A Philadelphia native, Forten graduated in 1856 from Salem State, then known as the Salem Normal School. “Charlotte paved the way for each and every student of color that walks our campus, each student of color that finds their voice, and each student of color that leaves Salem State to positively impact the future,” Salem State president John Keenan said at the dedication ceremony. “Her commitment to social justice lives on in all of our students today.”

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John Laidler can be reached at john.laidler@globe.com.