Black History Month: Dido Elizabeth Belle

Dido Elizabeth Belle - line drawing of a woman in a feathered head scarf. She looks to the veiwer, pointing to her face with one finger. She is wearing a string of pearls, a dress and shawl. The text included in the image is included in the body of the post..

Dido Elizabeth Belle was born into slavery in the West Indies, the daughter of a slave and a slave owenr, John Lindsay. Lindsay took her to England as a young child, and she was raised by his uncle, the First Earl of Mansfield.

She was raised as a gentlewoman in Kenwood House, Hampstead, London, from 1765. By 1793 she was a free woman and an heiress. She had learned to read and write, helping her uncle with his correspondence – unusual for a woman at the time (this was usually done by a secretary, who would be a man). In 1793, Belle married a gentleman’s steward, and they had at least three sons.

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