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IPFS News Link • American History

How Black Women Brought Liberty to Washington in the 1800s

• arclein
In a new book, At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, & Shifting Identities in Washington, DC, historian Tamika Nunley transports readers to 19th-century Washington and uncovers the rich history of black women's experiences at the time, and how they helped to build some of the institutional legacies for "chocolate city." From Ann Williams, who leapt out of a second story window on F Street to try and evade a slave trader, to Elizabeth Keckley, the elegant activist, entrepreneur, and seamstress who dressed Mary Todd Lincoln and other elite Washingtonians, Nunley highlights the challenges enslaved and free black women faced, and the opportunities some were able to create. She reveals the actions they women took to advance liberty, and their ideas about what liberty would mean for themselves, their families, and their community.