Marlene Rivero to portray Elizabeth Keckley in JCHS historical program

February 10, 2020

Marlene Rivero will portray Elizabeth Keckley at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 15 in the Schweinfurth Museum at the Historical Village.

Elizabeth Keckley is remembered as a seamstress, author, and philanthropist. Drawing upon her earnings as a seamstress, Keckley was able to purchase her freedom from slavery in 1855. After her arrival in Washington, D.C., in 1860, her skills as a dressmaker quickly resulted in commissions from several of the city’s leading women, including Varina Davis, the wife of Jefferson Davis. On March 5, 1861, the day following the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as U.S. president, Mary Todd Lincoln hired Elizabeth Keckley as her personal seamstress. This position and her close relationship with the first lady provided Keckley with a unique perspective on domestic life within the White House.

Marlene Rivero is retired from the U.S. Forest Service. She started utilizing her storytelling talents in 1999 as a first-person heritage interpreter with the Forest Service. Later, she became lead heritage interpreter for the agency in African American interpretation and presentations and served in that role for eleven years. From 2003 to 2006, she was a national guest speaker for the Corps of Discovery Expedition. The program, York’s Mother, retraced the 1803 journey of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

This program is provided free of charge, but donations are appreciated. The Jefferson County Historical Village is located at 1411 North 27th Street in Mt. Vernon. For more information contact the Historical Society office at 618-246-0033.