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Published: 14 April 1988

432 Pages

4-5/8 x 6-1/2 inches

ISBN: 9780195052596

Also Available As:


Bookseller Code (04)


Behind the Scenes

Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House

Elizabeth Keckley
Introduction by James Olney

The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers

Part slave narrative, part memoir, and part sentimental fiction, Behind the Scenes depicts Elizabeth Keckley's years as a slave and subsequent four years in Abraham Lincoln's White House during the Civil War (1861-1865). As public drama privately experienced, Keckley's work presents Jefferson Davis and his wife, Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, and even Stephen Douglas and "Mrs. Senator Douglas" in the foreground, with the war, and slavery as the issue that precipitated it, in the background. Through the eyes of this black woman--an ex-slave, seamstress, and dressmaker--we see a wide range of historical figures and events of the antebellum South, the Washington of the Civil War years, and the final stages of the war.