Potential Alleged Second Black First Lady

During the 1830s, the slavery issue was heating up and sides were moving further apart. Martin Van Buren’s inaugural address was the first to mention slavery. His Vice President Richard Johnson of Kentucky was “living openly with and probably married to one of his slaves.” They had two daughters and they dined with him and rode in his carriage with him as a family.

This woman died of cholera in 1833, but Johnson quickly took up with another, younger black woman.

If something had happened to Van Buren during his presidency, Johnson would have been President and this young, black woman would have been first lady. She would have maybe been the second black first lady as it is widely assumed that Thomas Jefferson’s slave Sally Hemings was the first.


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