Elizabeth was a pillar of the extensive African-American middle class in Washington and was extremely active in organizations aimed at relieving the plight of “contrabands,” the slaves freed by the occupying Union army as it took territory in the south.
When Mrs. Keckley published Behind the Scenes, an intimate memoir of her years inside the Lincoln White House, Mary Lincoln’s feelings of betrayal ended their friendship. Though they were estranged for many years, she claimed that Mary Lincoln eventually contacted her and that they reconciled. Regardless, her memoir has been invaluable as a look inside the Lincoln household during the Civil War and its aftermath.
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