Exploited or Empowered - Nonmember
Monday, November 5, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session)
“Exploited or Empowered: Nineteenth Century ‘Freaks’” with Judy Berger
Cheng and Eng, the Bearded Lady, Lobster Boy, Two Headed Girl and Tom Thumb are names that we still recognize. They were exhibited as freaks and were mainstays of the circus and carnival sideshows. However, these were real people: Tom Thumb was christened Charles Stratton, and the Two Headed Girl were conjoined twins, Millie and Christine McKoy. After viewing articles about their lives, listening to interviews with disabled people and hearing about their unique accomplishments, you can judge: Exploited or Empowered.
Judy Berger has been an LLI volunteer for nine years. She learned about the remarkable twins, Millie and Christine, who were born into slavery in 1851, during a trip to North Carolina. Joined at the base of the spine, these remarkable women became international stars, billed as the "Two Headed Girl." They were fluent in five languages and accomplished pianists, singers and dancers. They entertained royalty and were a favorite of Queen Victoria.