Living history event to feature Keckley

“Elizabeth Keckley, a Living History Performance” is the title of the Feb. 19 installment in the Historic Tuesday Talks series at the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus in Cape Girardeau.

Storyteller and dramatization artist Marlene B. Rivero will give the presentation at 7 p.m., which is free and open to the public. 

The event is a part of the Museum’s celebration of Black History Month during February to recognize and learn about the cultures, history and achievements of black Americans.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Keckley was born a slave, bought her freedom at the age of 37 and set up a dressmaking business in Washington, D.C. 

She secured Mary Todd Lincoln, whose husband had recently been inaugurated as president of the United States, as one of several important clients. 

Mary Todd Lincoln supported Keckley’s efforts to help freed blacks through her works with the Contraband Relief Organization. 

Keckley’s written memoir, “Behind the Scenes,” caused a break in her relationship with Mary Todd Lincoln, but provided a rare, personal glimpse into the Lincolns’ family life because Keckley was often present in the Lincolns’ private living quarters.

Rivero has portrayed African American, Native American and bi-racial women since 1999 in an effort to explore cultures and histories from other parts of the country and highlight interesting adventures in peoples’ lives. 

In showcasing the struggles of these women, audiences learn about their amazing accomplishments and understand new African American and Native American cultures and histories.

The Historic Tuesday Talk series takes place at 7 p.m. on select Tuesdays in the Crisp Museum through April 16. 

The talks consist of short, informational presentations and discussion sessions.

Topics include movements, Civil War, World War I, riverboats, railroads, socio-cultural issues, space exploration, regional history, natural resources, fossils, geology and more. 

For more information, visit

Crisp Museum is located at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus at 518 S. Fountain St. in Cape Girardeau.

For more information, email or call 573-651-2260.

The Gazette-Democrat

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