The Senator and the Socialite: The True Story of America's First Black Dynasty

  • ISBN-13: 9780060985134
  • $10.78

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Blanche Kelso Bruce was born a slave in 1841, yet, remarkably, amassed a real-estate fortune and became the first black man to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate. He married Josephine Willson—the daughter of a wealthy black Philadelphia doctor—and together they broke down racial barriers in 1880s Washington, D.C., numbering President Ulysses S. Grant among their influential friends. The Bruce family achieved a level of wealth and power unheard of for people of color in nineteenth-century America. Yet later generations would stray from the proud Bruce legacy, stumbling into scandal and tragedy.Drawing on Senate records, historical documents, and personal letters, author Lawrence Otis Graham weaves a riveting social history that offers a fascinating look at race, politics, and class in America.

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