Behind the Scenes: or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House (Penguin Classics)

Behind the Scenes: or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House (Penguin Classics)

Elizabeth Keckley


initially released in 1868—when it was once attacked as an “indecent book” authored through a “traitorous eavesdropper”—Behind the Scenes is the tale of Elizabeth Keckley, who started her lifestyles as a slave and have become a privileged witness to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Keckley got her freedom on the age of thirty-seven and manage a winning dressmaking enterprise in Washington, D.C. She turned modiste to Mary Todd Lincoln and in time her good friend and confidante, a courting that endured after Lincoln’s assassination. In documenting that friendship—often utilizing the 1st Lady’s personal letters—Behind the Scenes fuses the slave narrative with the political memoir. It is still striking for its poignancy, candor, and old standpoint.

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