Most people have heard of Madame C.J. Walker as being one of the first black female millionaires in America. She invented a hair straightening method called the straightening comb. Of course, we know about the richest black woman of this century. That would be Oprah Winfrey who became the first black female billionaire. But, I bet there’s one lady that you haven’t heard of.
There was a great little movie I saw on television called “A House Divided.” It was about the daughter of a slave & her owner who was left property by her father. Her father’s relatives contest the will because the beneficiary was a daughter of a slave which made her part black. The events that are depicted in the movie are based on Amanda America Dickson. Here’s more on her life from the New Georgia Encyclopedia:
“She was born on November 20 or 21, 1849, on the Hancock County plantation of her father, the famous white agricultural reformer, David Dickson (1809-85). Her birth was the result of the rape of her slave mother, Julia Frances Lewis Dickson, when Julia was twelve years old. At the time, David Dickson was forty and the wealthiest planter in the county. Amanda America Dickson spent her childhood and adolescence in the house of her white grandmother and owner, Elizabeth Sholars Dickson, where she learned to read and write and play the piano—the survival skills of a young lady but not ordinarily the opportunities of a slave. According to the Dickson family oral history, David Dickson doted on Amanda, and Julia quite openly became his concubine and housekeeper.
In the winter of 1885 David Dickson died, leaving the bulk of his estate to Amanda Dickson and subsequently to her children after her death. Executors appraised the estate, which included 17,000 acres of land in Hancock and Washington counties, at $309,000. In his will David Dickson stated that the administration of his estate was to be left to the sound judgment and unlimited discretion of Amanda Dickson without interference from any quarter, including any husband she might have. A host of David Dickson’s white relatives contested the will, but the superior court of Hancock County ruled in favor of Amanda Dickson in November 1885. The disgruntled relatives then appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court decision in 1887. The higher court stated that the “rights of each race are controlled and governed by the same enactments or principles of law”—in other words, whatever rights and privileges belonged to a bastard white child belonged to a mixed-race child as well.”(End of Excerpt) Read the full article here: