Young CEO Pens Book on Economic History of Blacks in America Angel Rich hopes story will inspire and educate

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Angel Rich hopes her new book, “History of the Black Dollar,” helps bring Black Baby Boomers and Millennials closer together by connecting them to African-Americans’ long struggle to build wealth and simply make ends meet.

Angel Rich's new book is available now.

“The books takes you from slavery all the way to 2017 and explains the economic history of black America,” said Rich, CEO of the Wealth Factory and the winner of the Center for Global Policy Solutions’ (CGPS) 2016 Inclusion Revolution Innovation Competition.

CGPS President and CEO Dr. Maya Rockeymoore wrote the book’s forward, in which she praised Rich for “enlightening and inspiring a new generation of economic social justice warriors to take the helm in the fight to build a truly inclusive economy.”

Using her book as the basis, Rich talked about the broader issue of black economic empowerment at the 2017 Future of Wealth Summit. Historically, Blacks have taken one step forward and two steps back on the road to prosperity. Though blacks were growing and selling their own tobacco and rice since as early as 1621, it was difficult to make any headway because slavery made blacks themselves a valuable commodity.

Angel Rich addresses the crowd.

“There is no mystery that the slave trade was an economic institution … It was a racial and economic injustice,” Rich said.

Rich writes that the slave trade actually ebbed after the American Revolution, causing many slaves to envision that they, too, would get the “liberty” the war had given white Americans. The invention of the cotton gin–a marvel in its day for its ability to separate seeds from valuable cotton fibers–dashed those hopes. Cotton became king, and slaves were needed to pick it.

Angel Rich, the winner of CGPS's 2016 tech inclusion competition, poses with this year's winners - the teen startup Testify.

“America became the most capitalistic society in the world because of slaves and cotton. We had the cheapest and best cotton in the world, and we were developing it with free (labor),” Rich said.

Innovation was not the only thing that stymied blacks’ upward mobility; racism played its part as well. When the population of free blacks became too high in the District of Columbia (and other places throughout the country), Black Codes were implemented to punish African Americans for the smallest infractions, Rich said. And often when blacks did build flourishing business and residential communities, the white masses did not welcome their success. Rich pointed to Greenwood, a community in Tulsa, Okla., that was home to the so-called “Black Wall Street” until a white mob burned it to the ground in 1921.

“Anytime blacks try to come up economically, something happens,” Rich said.

Watch all of Rich’s address below.

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