Mississippi

The New Face of Rachel Knight

Is THIS Rachel Knight?

Is THIS Rachel Knight?

At long last we return to the question of whether a photograph of Rachel Knight exists. (see my earlier post,  “Rachel Knight: Does a Picture of Her Exist?”).  I am pleased to now be in touch with Yvonne Bivins, who has been researching the Ainsworth/Smith/Knight family lines for many years.

Yvonne believes that the woman identified as Rachel on the cover of my book, The Free State of Jones, is probably Anna Knight, daughter of Georgeanne Knight and granddaughter of Rachel. Based on her grandfather’s description of Rachel, she believes the woman in the above photo 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.”

Further descriptions by Warren Smith of Rachel’s appearance led Yvonne to conclude that Rachel’s daughter, Martha Ann Knight, most resembled her.  Photographs do exist of Martha Ann, who, Yvonne notes, looked very much like an “Australian Aborigine.”  Because the woman in the above photo sharply resembles Martha Ann, Yvonne hypothesizes that this just may be a photo of Rachel.

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.”

This is all very fascinating, and I’m sure we haven’t yet heard the final word on Rachel Knight and her progeny.  Thank you, Yvonne, for sharing your research and perspective with us.

3 replies »

  1. Hi, I am a descendant of Newt Knight. Oddly, I just was given my baby book, and there were some old pics in it, and this was one of them. It is definitely Rachel. My mother says she was told that Rachel was mostly either Creek, or Choctaw Indian. There was definitely some mixing going on, before and after. I also have a great picture of Charlie Knight, my great grandfather. I can’t find the picture of Captain Newton Knight I used to have. Anyway, the pic above is definitely Rachel.

    • Lacy,

      Thank you so much for confirming that this is the photo your mother had in her possession, and who she identified as Rachel! I’d love to post a photo of Charlie Knight as well.

      Where does your mother fit into the Knight kinship line?

      Vikki Bynum

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