Karl Jacoby will speak about his new book on William Henry Ellis aka Guillermo Enrique Eliseo at The Huntington Library on Wednesday, September 14 at 7. 30 PM. This book which I have read is about an African American man who exploited the fault lines of the borderlands between national and racial identity in the nineteenth to early twentieth century in the United States and Mexico to become very successful. Ellis lead an interesting life that many of you will be intrigued to learn about. The autobiography reads like a novel and is cinematic in the book narrative presentation. Another way to say this is, the book is easy.
The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire (Norton, 2016) explores the African American experience from both a domestic and international lens, and offers a broader and refreshing perspective on the challenges and triumphs of African Americans’ socio-economic success during the Gilded Age that is accessible to a broad audience. Descendants of Ellis’ sister live in the Los Angeles area and are pioneering African American Californians.