Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires by Shomari Wills

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Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires Read Online Free - “By telling the little-known stories of six pioneering African American entrepreneurs, Black Fortunes makes a worthy contribution to black history, to business history, and to American history.”—Margot Lee Shetterly, Author of the New York Times Bestseller Hidden Figures

The astonishing untold history of America’s first black millionaires—former slaves who endured incredible challenges to amass and maintain their wealth for a century, from the Jacksonian period to the Roaring Twenties—self-made entrepreneurs whose unknown success mirrored that of American business heroes such as Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, and Thomas Edison.

While Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Michael Jordan, and Will Smith are among the estimated 35,000 black millionaires in the nation today, these famous celebrities were not the first blacks to reach the storied one percent. Between the years of 1830 and 1927, as the last generation of blacks born into slavery was reaching maturity, a small group of smart, tenacious, and daring men and women broke new ground to attain the highest levels of financial success.

Black Fortunes is an intriguing look at these remarkable individuals, including Napoleon Bonaparte Drew—author Shomari Wills’ great-great-great-grandfather—the first black man in Powhatan County (contemporary Richmond) to own property in post-Civil War Virginia. His achievements were matched by five other unknown black entrepreneurs including:

Mary Ellen Pleasant, who used her Gold Rush wealth to further the cause of abolitionist John Brown;
Robert Reed Church, who became the largest landowner in Tennessee;
Hannah Elias, the mistress of a New York City millionaire, who used the land her lover gave her to build an empire in Harlem;
Orphan and self-taught chemist Annie Turnbo-Malone, who developed the first national brand of hair care products;
Madam C. J Walker, Turnbo-Malone’s employee who would earn the nickname America’s "first female black millionaire;"
Mississippi school teacher O. W. Gurley, who developed a piece of Tulsa, Oklahoma, into a "town" for wealthy black professionals and craftsmen" that would become known as "the Black Wall Street."
A fresh, little-known chapter in the nation’s story—A blend of Hidden Figures, Titan, and The TycoonsBlack Fortunes illuminates the birth of the black business titan and the emergence of the black marketplace in America as never before.

Title : Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0062437542
Edition Language : English
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 320 pages


Jill rated it ★★★☆☆

March 03, 2018

What an interesting book on the the lives of six African-Americans who through hard work, intelligence, strength and in some cases, luck, became millionaires in the pre- and post-Civil War period. In a time of terrible racial hatred and little or no opportunity for a Black man/woman to have a cha...

Katie/Doing Dewey rated it ★★★★☆

March 11, 2018

Summary: The writing was simple, but I loved the stories and the important but forgotten history they revealed. This is the story of the first black millionaires - six amazing individuals, living barely post-Civil War, who overcame incredible odds to achieve success. They include men who invested...

Diego rated it ★★★★☆

February 21, 2018

In the spirit of learning history during Black History month: Six life stories of the first African-American slaves that became millionaires, prior to the Civil War and leading into the early 1900s. I was unable to put this down as all experience much hardship during their rise. All stories are v...

Ari rated it ★★★☆☆

March 11, 2018

IQ "Early in our country's history, African Americans who achieved wealth were often attacked, demonized, or swindled out of their money by those who knew the Jim Crow court system would offer no redress to a black person. The black elite in their first decades of existence survived assassination...

Eric rated it ★★★★☆

March 04, 2018

I am a huge history buff and I absolutely loved this book. The book discussed the first black millionaires and how they were all basically related. The fact that they had been through all this adversity and still were able to manage becoming millionaires it's amazing. I loved how it spoke about th...

Jamal rated it ★★★★☆

February 08, 2018

Completely Blown away by this well researched Gem. Shomari wills presented the lives of these millionaires in such a cool way. Learned so many amazing things.

Sarah Beth rated it ★★★☆☆

February 14, 2018

I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins. This work of non-fiction tells the story of the first black millionaires in America's history. These include six entrepreneurs including Mary Ellen Pleasant, who capitalized on the Gold Rush; Robert Reed Church who made his wealth off of landowni...

David rated it ★★★★★

January 20, 2018

Millionaires today are no big deal. Half of Congress is millionaires. Not impressed. But the first six black American millionaires is a terrific story. These unlikely individuals started off with huge disadvantages, from race to skin color to illiteracy to being slaves or the children of slaves....

Kathryn rated it ★★★★☆

March 05, 2018

Really interesting history and provides some more in depth human narratives to the broader history I have read of this post-emancipation period. I agree with others that the book needed better editing - there were a few too many errors in names such as referring to characters by different names i...

Miriam rated it ★★★★☆

March 07, 2018

The more I listened to this book, the more I wanted to know about the businesses and financial successes of these men and women. It was quite an achievement to earn and retain their millions. While I'd heard of Madame C.J. Walker, the others were new to me. A wonderful addition to reading for Bla...

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