Prosperous Blacks in the South, 1790-1880

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Loren L. Schweninger, Emeritus Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: For many years, historians paid only slight attention to blacks who reached the upper economic levels in the nineteenth-century South. In 1905, amateur historian Calvin Dill Wilson wrote a ten-page essay in the North American Review called "Black Masters: A Side-Light on Slavery," and a decade later John Russell added a brief article in the Journal of Negro History on the same subject.2 The "scientific historians" of the William A. Dunning school-Walter Lynwood Fleming, Mildred Thompson, James G. De Roulhac Hamilton, James W. Garner, among others-almost completely ignored black landholders and prosperous black business people, but to some extent this was also true for a later group of historians who attacked the racist assumptions of the Dunning school. The books and articles of Carter G. Woodson, Abram Harris, Merah Stuart, Luther Porter Jackson, John Hope Franklin, Vernon Lane Wharton, and other revisionist authors included only brief notations of blacks who had acquired substantial amounts of property. Even with the explosion of research on various aspects of the black experience during the late 1960s and 1970s, historians seemed more interested in racial exploitation, black culture and black consciousness, and the political activities of blacks during Reconstruction than with those who achieved financial success.

Additional Information

The American Historical Review 95 (February 1990):31-56
Language: English
Date: 1990
Business, Blacks, Financial success

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