Despite Her Background, Her Skill Brought Her Uncommon Acclaim

Elizabeth Keckley
Leslie Taylor-Grover
March 28, 2021

Elizabeth Keckley came from humble beginnings. Though she faced hardship and racism most of her career, she worked hard enough to purchase her freedom and fight her way to the top of society – by doing one thing better than anyone else.

Keckley was an INCREDIBLE seamstress. She was born to an enslaved mother, who taught her to sew – and she used this skill to her advantage. But this was only the beginning of her extraordinary life.

Because of her intricate and sophisticated designs, Keckley made friends with women from all walks of life, including abolitionists. Soon she was friends with Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the President – and more importantly, an avid purchaser of her dresses! But then something happened to ruin her acclaim.

She wrote a book about her life, and it brought bad publicity to both her and Mrs. Lincoln because it angered racists who thought she should’ve never grown so successful. Even today, some historians try to raise doubts about the quality of her work!

Keckley refused to let her start in life determine her future. She used her talent to create a successful business, regardless of the racist challengers who sought to stop her. We must realize that our greatness is not determined by racists who seek only to discount us because they’re jealous of our success!

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