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Posted on 03/29/2009


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Keywords

Author
African American Woman
Former Slave
Elizabeth Keckley
Bought her own freedom
Dressmaker to Mrs. Lincoln


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Though born a slave she would become a dress designer to Mrs. Abraham Lincoln

Though born a slave she would become a dress designer to Mrs. Abraham Lincoln
Elizabeth Keckley bought her freedom and rose to become Mary Todd Lincoln's dress designer and personal confidant.
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[b. 1818- d.1907]

Born a slave and fathered by a white plantation owner in Virginia. Ms. Keckley worked as a dressmaker in St. Louis, using her skills to buy freedom for herself and her son (a son she had after being raped by a white man).

After moving to Washington, D.C., in 1860, she built a successful career and became a prominent figure in the black community, organizing relief and educational programs for emancipated slaves.

In 1868 she published, 'Behind the Scenes' or 'Thirty Years A Slave, And Four Years in the White House,' a memoir of her relationship with the first lady.

Photo: 'The Face of Our Past: Images of Black Women from Colonial America to the Present' edited by Kathleen Thompson and Hilary Mac Austin

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