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The Elizabeth Keckley Reader: Volume One

Sheila Smith McKoy, editor

Eno Publishers
June 2, 2016
$15.95 paperback
6 x 9
224 pages

The Elizabeth Keckley Reader: Volume One, edited by Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy, offers a collection of essays and other works inspired by the life of Elizabeth Keckley. Enslaved in Hillsborough, North Carolina, Keckley eventually bought her freedom and became a noted seamstress in Civil War-era Washington D.C. She was most famously the confidante of Mary Todd 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 ravages of slavery to become a successful businesswoman and advocate for freed people. In essays, articles, and creative works, Keckley is viewed through the lens of entrepreneur, activist, creative force, civic leader, author, and former slave. The comprehensive volume illuminates the life and work of this remarkable 19th-century African American woman.


  • William Andrews
  • Frances Smith Foster
  • Lynn Domina
  • Michael Berthold
  • Sarah Blackwood
  • Regis M. Fox
  • Aisha Francis
  • Nanette Morton
  • Janaka Lewis
  • Tyree Daye and Jeffrey Langley
  • Jaki Shelton Green
  • Zelda Lockhart
  • Lenard D. Moore
  • Gideon Young
  • Tazewell Thompson