Once a Slave and Twice Free–Victorian Style

Photograph of Wilkes Flagg, resident of Milledgeville, Georgia (ca 1870)

Wilkes Flagg,
Lavinia’s Husband
Who Purchased Her Freedom
Courtesy: Digital Library of Georgia

When portraying an African American woman during the Civil War era, one must research and then determine if the selected 19th Century Southern Heroine would logically be on the scene for the type of events you will frequent.

As an example, if you are going to a memorial of a soldier, would your Southern Heroine have plausible reason to be at the event? Did her spouse at some level provide military aid or military service that can be validated? Could she easily identify with people from all backgrounds–whether slave or free? Living Histories should draw everyone into the story.

Therefore, I have decided that my Southern Heroine will be Lavinia Flagg, wife of Wilkes Flagg. She and her husband were both slaves. However, Wilkes, an industrious man, is said to have purchased both of their freedom. Though Wilkes and Lavinia were counted in the small percentage of Free People of Color as noted in the 1850 US Federal Census, they would live to see a new era of freedom for all former slaves at the end of the 19th Century.

As you follow this BLOG, you will witness my transformation into a woman who was once a slave and twice free.

Highlighting the good in humanity,
Ann DeWitt