|10-10-2009, 04:38 AM||#1|
Hibernian eBook Warrior
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Cork, Ireland
Device: Sony Reader
Black Titan - One of America's first Black Millionaires
In this candid biography, written by his niece and great-niece, Gastons life is recounted alongside the story of a changing America. Born in 1896, Gaston lived until he was 103, his life spanning eras of incredible change in the country he deeply loved even though,despite his wealth and invitations to the White House, he had to use the doors marked "Niggers/Freight" for most of his life.
This book proved to be an exceptionally easy and rewarding read. set against the dramatic backdrop of virulent racism and the struggle for civil rights in the American south, this story appeals to history students and entrepreneurs alike.
A.G Gaston rose from exceptionally humble beginnings to create a life for himself in an incredibly racist and segregated society. Inspired by the story of the freed slave Booker T Washington, his role model, the young Gaston constantly strived to better himself through hard work and determination.
What is even more remarkable is the fact that he succeeded. Through his incredible work ethic, business sense and determination he amassed a fortune in the tens of millions of dollars, becoming one of the first black millionaires. One of the more striking aspects of his life and career is his dedication to the local community and the importance he placed on this work from a commercial and personal point of view.
The authors are exceptionally honest, highlighting Gaston's periods of intense loneliness and emotional diffidence as he focused on his business career at the expense of his personal relationships. They also tackle the charges of "Uncle Tomism" arising from the civil rights incidents in Birmiungham in the 1960's head on, exploring Gaston's reasoning while never providing excuses.
The only criticism I would have with the book is that it does not delve deeply enough into the mind and character of this incredible man himself. It is worth noting that the author remarks in the acknowledgements that many of the surviving family members refused to participate in the book, and I think this is significant.
Overall, well written and hugely readable. This is a must read for any business person with pearls of commercial wisdom everywhere in the text. It will also appeal to anyone interested in the struggle for equality and the American south of the times.
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