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Elizabeth Keckley

The Seamstress

2018-10-01 19:00:00 2018-10-01 20:00:00 America/Chicago Elizabeth Keckley Fremont Public Library

Monday, October 01
7:00pm - 8:00pm

Add to Calendar 2018-10-01 19:00:00 2018-10-01 20:00:00 America/Chicago Elizabeth Keckley Fremont Public Library

Fremont Public Library

Meeting Room A & B

Elizabeth Keckley, portrayed in this presentation by storyteller and actor Marlene Rivero, is best remembered today as the seamstress, friend, and confidante of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.  In fact, she was that and much more: a highly accomplished, multi-dimensional person with a wide range of experience and a strong sense of self-reliance.

Keckley’s autobiography, Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House, describes her experiences of earning money with her hands as a seamstress to support her white slaveholder and his household of seventeen people.  She gained a reputation as an excellent tailor and dressmaker.  She writes,

“While I was working so hard that others might live in comparative comfort, and move in those circles of society to which their birth gave them entrance, the thought often occurred to me whether I was really worth my salt or not; then perhaps the lips curled with a bitter sneer.”

After securing her freedom, Keckley used those same hands to work for lower pay than white seamstresses typically received.  As an ex-slave, she was forced to make concessions on her prices to obtain work from white middle- and upper-class ladies.  Although it was exceedingly rare for African American women to establish and own businesses at that time, Keckley did exactly that, eventually employing more than twenty other women.

This program is generously funded by the Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Program.

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Fremont Public Library

Phone: 847-566-8702
Fax: 847-566-0204

Hours
Mon, Feb 11 9:00AM to 9:00PM
Tue, Feb 12 9:00AM to 9:00PM
Wed, Feb 13 9:00AM to 9:00PM
Thu, Feb 14 9:00AM to 9:00PM
Fri, Feb 15 9:00AM to 6:00PM
Sat, Feb 16 9:00AM to 5:00PM
Sun, Feb 17 1:00PM to 5:00PM
Mon, Feb 11 9:00AM to 9:00PM
Tue, Feb 12 9:00AM to 9:00PM
Wed, Feb 13 9:00AM to 9:00PM
Thu, Feb 14 9:00AM to 9:00PM
Fri, Feb 15 9:00AM to 6:00PM
Sat, Feb 16 9:00AM to 5:00PM
Sun, Feb 17 1:00PM to 5:00PM

Address
1170 N. Midlothian Road
Mundelein
Illinois 60060
Tel: 847-566-8702
Fax: 847-566-0204

About the library

The Fremont Public Library District encompasses parts of Mundelein, Grayslake, Hawthorn Woods, Libertyville, Round Lake, Round Lake Park, and Wauconda. To find out if you live in our district, please call 847-566-8702. We honor library cards from any other public library in Illinois as well as a few from southern Wisconsin. The library is located in Mundelein, half a mile north of Rte.176 on Midlothian Road.

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