The improbable friendship of Mary Lincoln, daughter of a slaveholder, and Elizabeth Keckly, daughter of a slave, so ably recreated and documented in Fleischner’s dual biography, challenges much of what we think we know about nineteenth-century American color consciousness, black as well as white. Without understanding Lincoln’s attachment to Keckly, we can never appreciate the contradictions that made the First Lady so controversial. Without recognizing Keckly’s role in the Lincoln family, our awareness of African American influence on the politics of nation in the 1860s remains incomplete.
–William L. Andrews, E. Maynard Adams Professor of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, editor of Classic African American Women’s Narratives, and co-editor of the Norton Anthology of African American Literature
“An excellent, illuminating book that offers a fresh vision of Mary Lincoln, acquaints us with the exceedingly interesting Elizabeth Keckly, and provides new insight into race, women’s lives, and American society in the 19th century.”
–William Lee Miller, author of Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography