Stunning Portraits of Black Women From the Victorian Era
During the Victorian era in England and the United States, aristocratic white women often had a very specific role to play: that of a wife and a mother. But for the small group of Black women who joined the middle or upper class, their role was far more complicated.
In middle-class African American communities, many women were expected to follow the fashion ideals of white society while still maintaining the cultural traditions of Black society. Meanwhile, in England, a few Black women were permitted to enjoy the upper echelons of society — with one even becoming the goddaughter of Queen Victoria herself.
But while these lifestyles seemed quite honorable at the time, they often came with strings attached. And sadly, only a few details are known today about many of these women and their remarkable lives.