Will the real Mariah Watkins please stand up?: A case of inaccuracy and marginalization of African American history and appearance

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2015-11-13
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Gordon, Jennifer
Sanders, Eulanda
Sanders, Eulanda
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Who was Mariah Watkins? What was her identity, and how did appearance inform that identity? Watkins was an African American woman. Although likely born a slave, she lived most of her free years as a woman of property and of skill, working as a documented nurse and midwife in Neosho, Missouri. This paper relies on archival records, photographic analysis, and material culture to explore Watkins as a case study in the challenges of documenting African American appearance during and after the antebellum period in the United States.

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