Marlene Rivero brings Elizabeth Keckley to life. Initially known for her work in the White House for President Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, Elizabeth Keckley gained a reputation as a first-rate tailor and dressmaker while enslaved. As an ex-slave she was still forced to make concessions on her prices in order to get work from the white middle- and upper-class women she worked for. Keckley then created her own business, eventually employing over twenty women.
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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 Lewis and Clark Expedition.