The Elizabeth Keckley Reader: Volume 1

The Elizabeth Keckley Reader: Volume 1


The Elizabeth Keckley Reader: Volume One, edited by Sheila Smith McKoy offers a collection of essays and other works inspired by the life of Elizabeth Keckley, a slave in Hillsborough, North Carolina, who eventually bought her freedom. She became a noted seamstress in Civil War-era Washington DC, and was most famously the confidante of Mary Lincoln. Keckley s memoir, Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House is considered one of the seminal narratives of mid-19th century African American women. Scholar Sheila Smith McKoy assembles a wide variety of works published about Keckley. The Elizabeth Keckley Reader examines her life as a determined woman who overcame the horrors of the institution of slavery to become a successful entrepreneur, community leader, educator, author, and friend to the First Lady of the United States. In essays, articles and creative works, Keckley is viewed through the lens of entrepreneur, advocate, civic leader, educator, author, as well as a former slave. The comprehensive volume illuminates the life and work of this remarkable 19th-century African American woman.



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Jill Jepson: Disruption and Disguise in Black Feminine Entrepreneurial Identity--Mary Ellen Pleasant, Elizabeth Keckley, & Eliza Potter

William L. Andrews: Reunion in the Postbellum Slave Narrative--Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Keckley

Frances Smith Foster: Autobiography after Emancipation--The Example of Elizabeth Keckley

Lynn Domina: “I Was Re-Elected President"--Elizabeth Keckley as Quintessential Patriot in Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House

Michael Berthold: Not “Altogether” the “History of Myself”--Autobiographical Impersonality in Elizabeth Keckley’s Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House 

Janet Neary: Behind the Scenes and Inside Out--Elizabeth Keckley's Revision of the Slave-Narrative Form

Regis M. Fox: Behind the Scenes of American Liberalism

Aisha Francis: Stepping Beyond the Formal Lines--Elizabeth Keckley, Gertrude Mossell, and the Cost of Transgression

Nanette Morton: Private Spaces, Public Meanings

Janaka Lewis: Elizabeth Keckley and Lessons of Freedom