Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Class trumps race in 1885: Amanda America Dickson

I was googling to compare Hetty Green with Madam C. J. Walker when I stumbled on Slave Becomes One of the Wealthiest Women in 19th Century America, a brief write-up about Amanda America Dickson. I thought she would make a fascinating subject for a book, but someone beat me to it with a book I should read: Woman of Color, Daughter of Privilege: Amanda America Dickson, 1849-1893. From its description:
Although legally a slave herself well into her adolescence, Dickson was much favored by her father and lived comfortably in his house, receiving a genteel upbringing and education. After her father died in 1885 Dickson inherited most of his half-million dollar estate, sparking off two years of legal battles with white relatives. When the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the will, Dickson became the largest landowner in Hancock County, Georgia, and the wealthiest black woman in the post-Civil War South.
There's a slightly longer piece about her at Amanda America Dickson (1849-1893) | New Georgia Encyclopedia.