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Book of the week

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

Black Fortunes Book of the Weekby Shomari Wills

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:

Last updated 01/29/2019 by P. Higo
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University of Detroit Football Collection: University of Detroit vs. Boston College Program
University of Detroit Yearbook Collection: The Tower 1929
Maurice Greenia, Jr. Collections: Poetic Express Volume 14 Number 11
Fr. Edward J. Dowling, S.J. Marine Historical Collection: Interior, women's lounge, 1920s.
Fr. Edward J. Dowling, S.J. Marine Historical Collection: Chippewa
Maurice Greenia, Jr. Collections: At the Dakota. New York City, August 2008
University of Detroit Chorus Collection
Fr. Edward J. Dowling, S.J. Marine Historical Collection: William A. Amberg
University of Detroit Yearbook Collection: The Tower '41
University of Detroit Chorus Collection: Chorus Camp - 1968
University of Detroit Football Collection: University of Detroit vs. Bowling Green Program
Dichotomy: School of Architecture Student Journal
Dichotomy: School of Architecture Student Journal
University of Detroit Yearbook Collection: Tower '62
University of Detroit Football Collection: University of Detroit vs. Haskell Institute Program
University of Detroit Chorus Collection: Montreal Expo - 1967
Maurice Greenia, Jr. Collections: Poetic Express Volume 26 Number 11
Dichotomy: School of Architecture Student Journal

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