Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class

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9780060183523: Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class

Debutante cotillions. Million-dollar homes. Summers in Martha's Vineyard. Membership in the Links, Jack & Jill, Deltas, Boule, and AKAs. An obsession with the right schools, families, social clubs, and skin complexion. This is the world of the black upper class and the focus of the first book written about the black elite by a member of this hard-to-penetrate group.

Author and TV commentator Lawrence Otis Graham, one of the nation's most prominent spokesmen on race and class, spent six years interviewing the wealthiest black families in America. He includes historical photos of a people that made their first millions in the 1870s. Graham tells who's in and who's not in the group today with separate chapters on the elite in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nashville, and New Orleans. A new Introduction explains the controversy that the book elicited from both the black and white communities.

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Debutante cotillions. Arranged marriages. Summer trips to Martha's Vineyard. All-black boarding schools. Memberships in the Links, Deltas, Boulé, or Jack and Jill. Million-dollar homes. An obsession with good hair, light complexions, top credentials, and colleges like Howard, Spelman, and Harvard...

This is the world of the black upper class--an exclusive, mostly hidden group that lives awkwardly between white America and mainstream black America.

Our Kind of People is the first book written about the insular world of the black upper class by a member of this hard-to-penetrate group. A conservative network of families dating back to the first black millionaires of the 1880s, the black elite has developed its own rules for membership and for maintaining a place in a world that is unaware of its vast contributions.

Through six years of interviews with more than three hundred prominent families and individuals, journalist and commentator Lawrence Otis Graham weaves together the revealing stories and fascinating experiences of upper-class blacks who grew up with privilege and power. Best known for his provocative New York magazine exposé of elite golf clubs, when he left his law firm and went undercover as a busboy at an all-white Connecticut country club, Graham now turns his attention to the black elite.

Sometimes gossipy and always poignant, Graham visits and profiles upper-class families and institutions in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Detroit, Nashville, Memphis, Los Angeles, and New Orleans--always revealing who passes the "brown paper bag and ruler test" and who doesn't. With photographs and stories, the author takes us to the mansions they built in the 1880s, as well as to black-tie debutante cotillions and dinners hosted by the "best" families and social groups.

He visits families that trace their lineage to prominent whites, profiles major politicians, and interviews guests who attended a famous $60,000 wedding held in 1923 by New York's wealthiest black family. He takes us on a limousine ride with the richest black man in America and introduces us to socialites who are adept at screening celebrities, Baptists, and "new money" blacks out of their circles. Graham reveals the history of the black summer camps and boarding schools that opened in the 1920s, and the black insurance firms and banks that were founded in the 1930s. Our Kind of People even takes us into the Wall Street offices and Fifth Avenue apartments of today's millionaire black bankers and entrepreneur, who make up the new wave of elite African Americans.

Weaving together these stories with his own first-person narrative--one that tells of his childhood experiences in black elite social clubs and of wealthy family friends who "passed" for white in order to gain access to better jobs--Graham reveals a group that has been simultaneously heroic, snobbish, generous, and ambitious.

Both poignant and inspirational, Our Kind of People gives readers a firsthand look into a very private community that has played a major role in American history.

About the Author:

The author of fourteen books, including the New York Times bestseller Our Kind of People, and a contributing editor for Reader's Digest, Lawrence Otis Graham's work has also appeared in the New York Times, Essence, and The Best American Essays. He lives with his wife in Manhattan and Chappaqua, New York.

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Graham, Lawrence Otis:
Verlag: Harper, 06.01.1999. (1999)
ISBN 10: 0060183527 ISBN 13: 9780060183523
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Buchbeschreibung Harper, 06.01.1999., 1999. Buchzustand: Gut. Auflage: 1. 432 Seiten Sofortversand! Gutes Exemplar, geringe Gebrauchsspuren, Cover/SU berieben/bestoßen, innen alles in Ordnung; good – fine Immediate delivery in bubble wrap envelope! Good copy, light signs of previous use, cover/dust jacket has some rubbing/wear (along the edges), interior in good condition 161115ae24 ISBN: 9780060183523 Alle Preise inkl. MwST Sprache: Englisch Gewicht in Gramm: 698 23,1 x 16,0 x 3,8 cm, Gebundene Ausgabe. Artikel-Nr. 397096

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