Our Kind of People

Our Kind of People

Inside America's Black Upper Class

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Baker & Taylor
The black lawyer who made headlines by working undercover in an all-white Connecticut country club reports on the mores, racial politics, and history of America's black upper-class. By the author of Member of the Club. 40,000 first printing.


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.

& Taylor

Examines the values, politics, and history of America's Black upper class

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins,cc1999
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780060183523
Branch Call Number: 305.896 GRA
Characteristics: xii, 418 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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Nov 25, 2017

Details about America's black upper class, by one of its own. He grew up as part of New York's black elite, but also did six years of research in archives and interviewed other elite across the country. He starts with the invitation-only organizations wealthy black parents try to get their kids in, starting at age 2, especially important for those like the author who go to integrated schools. Friendships, learning history and manners, preparation for debutante balls, networking, mentoring in these groups, are all important in choosing colleges, mates, and careers. Separate invitation-only groups for both women and men serve similar functions, along with fund raising for black colleges and organizations like NAACP. Some are purely social, like a yacht club on the East Coast, and resort communities on Martha's Vineyard. Shows a side of history and social life whites don't usually see.

queteduelepoof Sep 24, 2015

Fascinating book about the black upper class. The biggest fault is how the author reveals himself not to be so much a documentarian/biographer as much as a staunch and proud member of the black upperclass. The author oozes upper class. There is little to no objectivity here, despite that, the author reveals a great deal.

Red_Tiger_1231 May 25, 2012

I enjoyed reading this book. It definitely satisfied my curiousity and gave great insight to a society we don't hear of often enough.

laylajewels Jan 26, 2012

this book is awesome GRRRREAT insight into such a quiet community and spot on! love it


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