"Black Titan: A.G. Gaston And The Making of A Black American Millionaire"
By Carol Jenkins & Elizabeth Gardner Hines
Our bi-monthly book review-presented to you by the hbcucollegegrants.com team - September 23, 2021
In 1892, a pioneer was born. A man who seemingly had nothing would become not only an African American millionaire but would also play a substantial role in the movement to integrate Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s.
The novel 'Black Titan' takes us on a journey through time with AG Gaston as he made his mark on the world and left behind a legacy that would touch many. What makes this novel a must-read page-turner is that Gaston was merely the grandson of slaves and was born into a life of poverty.
But that's not where his story ends.
The Early Days
Although he was born with nothing, would this stop Gaston from accomplishing all that he could achieve? It all began when his mother enrolled him in the Tuggle Institute, realizing that her son was meant to be more than just another black man succumbing to poverty.
Gaston quickly found that Booker T. Washington was someone he looked up to because of his philosophies and theories regarding education and African Americans knowing various skills to help them through life.
Although he identified with much of Washington's teachings, this didn't stop him from leaving school early on and enlisting in the Army. Gaston had an eye for business, and it wasn't until he returned to Birmingham many years later that he began working behind the scenes with those fighting for African Americans' civil rights.
Becoming an Activist
Black Titan details how Gaston rose from poverty and created an empire that would be worth $130 million at the time of his death.
Page after page of raw facts paint a picture of the times that Gaston was living in. He used much of his resources and wealth to help support civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King.
He used his wealth to advance African Americans further when they were seen as and treated no better than a dog on the street.
Throughout his life, Gaston had his home bombed, was the victim of a kidnapping, was beaten numerous times, but still, his work never stopped. The novel depicts a man whose wealth would surpass generations. It accomplishes the narrative that no matter where you start in life, there is always a way to overcome the odds.
The novel written by Hines and Jenkins provides a resounding voice to the man that created something that wasn't supposed to be possible. And in the process of doing so, he helped create more stepping stones that would help his community prosper in the future.
Black Titan is going to leave you turning pages in amazement and wonder at the man who became one of the wealthiest men during that time. Dedication, hard work, and never giving up or settling for your circumstances is how A.G Gaston forged his name into history.
Because of his work and the work of many others, African Americans can go to school today and receive the same education as others around them. Contact HBCU College Grants and take the first step to further your education.
Who knows, you could be the next A.G Gaston.