“Black Fortunes” by Shomari Wills tells the story of the first six Black Americans who became millionaires in the years following slavery. It serves as a mini-biography for each individual, giving insight into their early life and then detailing the path they took to accumulate their wealth. For the most part, the book linearly tells each person’s story but jumps back and forth between the subjects as the book moves through the years.
Tag: <span>black empowerment</span>
“40 Years a Prisoner” is a documentary about the events leading up to and following the 1978 Philadelphia police department’s raid of the MOVE organization’s home. There had been a period of increasing hostility between MOVE and the police which led to the raid and a stand-off that left one officer dead and another wounded. During the confrontation, police officers beat a then unarmed member of the organization and bombed the home leading to its destruction and the death of 11 people. Resulting trials would see allegations of police wrongdoing thrown out while several surviving MOVE members would be convicted and spend decades in prison.
“The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein charts the history of how local, state, and federal government policies and programs segregated cities across America. It disputes the widely promoted idea that individual racism and racist beliefs were the sole cause of housing segregation and the resulting discrimination that followed. Reaching back to the first wave of the Great Migration in the 1920s, Rothstein thoroughly explains how in most cases, the government led the charge in creating segregated communities even in locations where none had previously existed and citizens had no desire for these restrictive zoning patterns.
If you’re interested in learning about the first Black graduate of West Point and the army’s first Black commissioned officer, then my Henry O. Flipper Black History Short is for you.