As a young slave girl, Susie King Taylor secretly learned to read and write. Her skills proved invaluable to the Union Army as they began to form regiments of African American soldiers. Hired by the 1st South Carolina Colored Volunteers as a laundress in 1862, her primary roles were to nurse to wounded soldiers and to teach those who could not read or write. Taylor served for more than three years, working alongside her husband, Edward King, a sergeant in the regiment.
Photo: Susie King Taylor, 1902, courtesy East Carolina University
Another amazing woman.
Also a classic example of why, when writers say they can’t “realistically” have women with agency in prominent roles in historically-based fantasy, it is clear they do not know what they are talking about. Because women are everywhere, doing things usually ignored by “mainstream” history.
And specifically, women of color.