Black spies’ Civil War efforts highlighted in Portsmouth

When Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, realized someone on his staff was leaking information to the Union, the last person he suspected was the nanny, Mary Elizabeth Bowser.

He thought she was just an illiterate slave.

“Wrong Jeff, she was a school teacher from Philadelphia,” said Hari Jones, curator of the African American Civil War Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

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