Debutante cotillions. Arranged marriages. Summer trips to Martha’s Vineyard. All-black boarding schools. Memberships in the Links, Deltas, Bouleacute, or Jack and Jill. Million-dollar homes. An obsession with good hair, top credentials, and colleges like Howard, Spelman, and Harvard… This is the world of the black upper class– an exclusive, mostly hidden group that lives awkwardly between white America and mainstream black America.
“Our Kind of People” is the first book written about the insular world of the black upper class by a member of this hard-to-penetrate group. A conservative network of families dating back to the first black millionaires of the 1880s, the black elite has developed its own rules for membership and for maintaining a place in a world that is unaware of its vast contributions. Through six years of interviews with more than three hundred prominent families and individuals, journalist and commentator Lawrence Otis Graham weaves together the revealing stories and fascinating experiences of upper-class blacks who grew up with privilege and power. Best known for his provocative New York magazine expose acute of elite golf clubs, when he left his law firm and went undercover as a busboy at an all-white Connecticut country club, Graham now turns his attention to the black elite. Sometimes gossipy and always poignant, Graham visits and profiles upper-class families and institutions in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nashville, and New Orleans. A new Introduction explains the controversy that the book elicited from both the black and white communities.