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Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire Paperback – January 25, 2005
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—EARL G. GRAVES SR.
Chairman and CEO, Earl G. Graves Ltd.
Founder and Publisher, Black Enterprise magazine
Author of How to Succeed in Business Without Being White:
Straight Talk on Making It in America
“A. G. Gaston was there first. He succeeded when the odds seemed insurmountable. This important book traces his incredible life, from coal miner to millionaire. It is full of lessons for anyone looking to succeed in today’s business world.”
CEO, Black Entertainment Television, Inc.
“It was my privilege to meet A. G. Gaston in Birmingham, Alabama, during the early 1970s. I was greatly inspired by his unique entrepreneurial vision and passionate belief in economic self-sufficiency. . . . This book should be read by every entrepreneur.”
Chairman, Uniworld Group
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
Born at a time when the bitter legacy of slavery and Reconstruction still poisoned the lives of black Americans, Gaston was determined to make a difference for himself and his people. His first job, after serving in the celebrated all-black regiment during World War I, bound him to the near-slavery of an Alabama coal mine?but even here Gaston saw not only hope but opportunity. He launched a business selling lunches to fellow miners, soon established a rudimentary bank?and from then on there was no stopping him. A kind of black Horatio Alger, Gaston let a single, powerful question be his guide: What do our people need now? His success flowed from an uncanny genius for knowing the answer.
Combining rich family lore with a deep knowledge of American social and economic history, Carol Jenkins and Elizabeth Hines unfold Gaston?s success story against the backdrop of a century of crushing racial hatred and bigotry. Gaston not only survived the hardships of being black during the Depression, he flourished, and by the 1950s he was ruling a Birmingham-based business empire. When the movement for civil rights swept through the South in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Gaston provided critical financial support to many activists.
At the time of his death in 1996, A. G. Gaston was one of the wealthiest black men in America, if not the wealthiest. But his legacy extended far beyond the monetary. He was a man who had proved it was possible to overcome staggering odds and make a place for himself as a leader, a captain of industry, and a far-sighted philanthropist. Writing with grace and power, Jenkins and Hines bring their distinguished ancestor fully to life in the pages of this book. Black Titan is the story of a man who created his own future?and in the process, blazed a future for all black businesspeople in America. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
An Emmy-winning former television journalist, she was founding president and board member of The Women's Media Center, the groundbreaking non-profit aimed at increasing coverage and participation of women in the media. In that WMC role she conceived the acclaimed Progressive Women's Voices media leadership program, and acquired and expanded the largest portfolio of women experts in the country, SheSource.
The WMC served as consultant to the award-winning documentary on sexism in the media, Miss Representation, and Ms Jenkins is interviewed in the film. Every year The WMC gives The Carol Jenkins Young Journalist Award to an accomplished media professional.
Carol Jenkins is Chair of the Board of Directors of AMREF USA. The African Medical & Research Foundation, a 55 year old organization based in Nairobi and founded as The Flying Doctors, is the largest African health NGO on the continent. AMREF operates in more than 30 countries in the delivery of services, training of a local health workforce, and providing safe water and sanitation. AMREF is winner of both The Bill and Melinda Gates Award for Global Health and The Hilton Humanitarian Prize.
As part of her international work, Ms Jenkins is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations.
In addition to continuing to serve on The Women's Media Center board, she is Chair of the Black Maternal Health Advisory Board of Women's eNews, the online international women's newspaper; member of the President's Council of Advisers at The National Council for Research on Women; a member of the Advisory Board of The Alliance of Women Film Journalists; and an Advisory board member of the Caring Economics Campaign, a project of The Center for Partnership Studies.
Ms Jenkins formerly served on the boards of The Ms Foundation for Women and The Feminist Press. She pursues her interest in the Arts as a board member of the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance. Born into a farming family in Alabama, she is honored to serve as a member of the board of Humane Farm Animal Care, the national certifying entity for farms and retail establishments for humane treatment of animals.
Carol Jenkins is the co-author, with her daughter Elizabeth Gardner Hines, of Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire. A biography of her uncle, it was winner of Best Non-Fiction award from the Black Caucus of The American Library Association. She was an Executive Producer of Eve Ensler's Sundance award-winning documentary, What I Want My Words to Do to You and is a contributor to the recently published book, Secrets of Powerful Women, Leading Change for a New Generation.
A recipient of both the Lifetime Achievement and International Reporting awards from the National Association of Black Journalists/NY, she holds honorary degrees from Marymount Manhattan College and The College of New Rochelle. During her reporting career she anchored WNBC-TV's evening newscast, covered presidential and mayoral politics, the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in South Africa, and hosted, on WNYW, her own daily talk show, Carol Jenkins Live.
Recent honors include the 2012 Ida B. Wells Bravery in Journalism Award from Women's eNews; inclusion in the 2012 Class of TheGrio 100 Leading African Americans; the 2009 North Star News Prize, and the 2008 Women's Equality Award from The National Council of Women's Organizations.
Top Customer Reviews
In Birmingham Gaston went to the Tuggle Institute for high school where he came in contact with Booker T. Washington who would remain one of his biggest influences. After he left high school, he supported himself with jobs such as delivering newspapers and factory work until he entered the army. It was overseas in France that he felt like a man but was brought back to reality when he returned to Jim Crow Alabama. Gaston went to work in the mines; dirty, grueling work but it was there where his entrepreneurial spirit was born. He sold his mother's catered lunches to the other miners and always being frugal, and then started a loan business. A businessman in the making, he then partnered with the Baptist church to start burial insurance and funeral businesses. Little by little these enterprises grew and when he partnered with A.L. Smith, who was already an established businessman, his ventures grew. Gaston & Smith proved to be very profitable professionally and personally when he married Smith's daughter Creola. They worked together and when she died, he married Minnie Gardner, a school teacher who came from a prominent family.Read more ›
about people who have overcome impossible odds to become successful business people.
But I am also a 20th century history buff and therefore, this
book was an exceptional treat. About halfway through, I was
fantasizing about a Ken Burns documentary called, The Life And Times Of A.G. Gaston.
One quick sidebar; Check out the story of
Madame C.J. Walker, a Black woman born shortly after the Civil
war, to former slaves. She became a multi-millionaire and died
at age 52 at about the same time Mr. Gaston was returning from
WWI. She was the first self made Black female millionaire and
her story is also amazing.
A.G. Gaston was clearly from the Booker T. Washington school of
economics. He survived and thrived in an area that was arguably ground zero of the
insanely racist south, and arguably ground zero of the civil rights movement.
I refer to the area roughly bounded by Montgomery and Birmingham Alabama, and Meridian Mississippi.
It would have been easier for a Black man to become a multi-millionaire in almost any other area of the country.
I would highly recommend this book as required reading in American high schools.
Furthermore, I had always wondered where the money came from that fueled the Civil Rights movement. The book shared Gaston's accomplishments despite racial hatred and segregation and how great an impact be had on American history.
I will read it again and continue to encourage others to read it.
Thank God for the Authors!!
Brandon J. Everitt
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must read for all young people. Arthur was an exceptional person and Liz and Carol weave a beautiful page turner!Published 1 month ago by Arthur J. Barbato
Takes too long to get to the point. Not enough information about that Black Titan, but about family history instead.Published 3 months ago by G.M.A.
Books Of Interest review Feb 26, 2015
The amazing life of one of the wealthiest African American men in America during the 1900's, was penned by the deceased niece,... Read more
What a great book, if he can do it back then when things were harder and more difficult to start a business, then what's our excuse.Published 6 months ago by Angela Bandoo
It was ok, I thought the book, Green Power, would talk more about the technical aspects of making a million dollars.Published 7 months ago by Melvin Griffin
You'll enjoy this book more than you could have expected. You will become wiser, and that's just the beginning of stepping in a higher direction.Published 8 months ago by Daylen Earl Stone