The Strange Career of William Ellis

The Strange Career of William Ellis

The Texas Slave Who Became A Mexican Millionaire

Book - 2016
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"A prize-winning historian tells a new story of the black experience in America through the life of a mysterious entrepreneur. To his contemporaries in Gilded Age Manhattan, Guillermo Eliseo was a fantastically wealthy Mexican, the proud owner of a luxury apartment overlooking Central Park, a busy Wall Street office, and scores of mines and haciendas in Mexico. But for all his obvious riches and his elegant appearance, Eliseo was also the possessor of a devastating secret: he was not, in fact, from Mexico at all. Rather, he had begun life as a slave named William Ellis, born on a cotton plantation in southern Texas during the waning years of King Cotton. After emancipation, Ellis, capitalizing on the Spanish he learned during his childhood along the Mexican border and his ambivalent appearance, engaged in a virtuoso act of reinvention. He crafted an alter ego, the Mexican Guillermo Eliseo, who was able to access many of the privileges denied to African Americans at the time: traveling in first-class train berths, staying in upscale hotels, and eating in the finest restaurants. The Strange Career of William Ellis reads like a novel but offers fresh insights on the history of the Reconstruction era, the US-Mexico border, and the abiding riddle of race. At a moment when the United States is deepening its connections with Latin America and recognizing that race is more than simply black or white, Ellis's story could not be more timely or important"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393239256
Characteristics: xxviii, 304 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Call Number: B ELLIS, W

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barreka
Oct 21, 2016

This book provides a rich history of post slavery treatment of African Americans in Texas and one man's unique success in navigating the color line. It also captures the dynamic history between Texas and Mexico that gives insight into our present relationships. The author has also provided extensive footnotes and bibliography of the sources that inform the book,

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