At long last we return to the question of whether a photograph of Rachel Knight exists (See Rachel Knight: Does a photo of her exist?). Knight family historian Yvonne Bivins believes that the woman identified as Rachel on the cover of my book, The Free State of Jones, is probably Anna Knight, daughter of George Ann Knight and granddaughter of Rachel. Based on her grandfather’s description of Rachel, she believes the woman in the photo to the left is much more likely to be Rachel. Grandfather Warren Smith, she writes, “described Rachel as a ‘Guinea Negro,’ meaning she was racially mixed but did not look white nor was she light-skinned, but with “nice hair” not kinky and shoulder length.”
Yvonne makes another important point: “My grandfather,” she states, “said that Rachel’s children did not appear as white as most would believe. They had complexions that ranged from dark olive to light brown, most with coarse black hair with a few red-heads in the mixture. The infusion of fair-skin came from the Ainsworths and not the Knights.”
Update, 10/13/2014: When I visited this past spring with Dianne Walkup, another descendant of Newt and Rachel, she expressed her belief that the photo shown on the cover of Free State of Jones, is, after all the disagreement, a true photo of Rachel Knight:
And so, the controversy continues!