Initially known for the clothes she created for Mary Todd Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln’s wife), Elizabeth Keckley gained a reputation as a first-rate dressmaker while enslaved. For over two and a half years, she used her hands and needle to provide for the seventeen people of her Master’s household. After Elizabeth’s freedom, she eventually started her own business and employed over twenty women, a feat unheard of in those days! This is the life that heritage interpreter Marlene Rivero will bring to the Little White School Museum stage, offering the audience a glimpse into the past with a story deserving our attention.
The event will be co-produced by the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, which invites Illinois authors, artists and educators to share their expertise and enthusiasm with people throughout the state, enabling local nonprofit organizations to present free-admission cultural programs to their communities. The current edition of the Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, presented in cooperation with the Illinois Bicentennial Commission and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, consists of presentations exploring Illinois history and culture in recognition of the state’s 200th anniversary.
Illinois Humanities strengthens the social, political, and economic fabric of Illinois through constructive
conversation and community engagement. Founded in 1974 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Illinois Humanities is the only statewide proponent of the public humanities in Illinois. Through public programs, education and training, and grantmaking, we connect Illinoisans who might not otherwise encounter one another.