Elizabeth Dowling Taylor is the New York Times bestselling author of A Slave in the White House: Paul Jennings and the Madisons. She received her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, and over her twenty-two-year career in museum education and research has held the positions of director of interpretation at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and director of education at James Madison's Montpelier. She is now an independent scholar and lecturer and a fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in Charlottesville.
"The Original Black Elite is a compelling biography of
Daniel Murray and the group the writer-scholar W.E.B. DuBois called
'The Talented Tenth.' In this work, Elizabeth Dowling Taylor deftly
demonstrates how the struggle for racial equality has always been
complicated by the thorny issue of class."--Patricia Bell-Scott,
author of The Firebrand and the First Lady, which was
longlisted for the National Book Award.
"Elizabeth Dowling Taylor's riveting and timely story of black politicos and professionals--their joys and passions--blazing a trail of equity and excellence in the nation's capital, reminds us all too prophetically how fragile racial progress has been in American history. In this new post-Obama era, The Original Black Elite is a cautionary tale that this "forgotten era" of the first black elite in the highest corridors of power and influence a century ago is not just about the passing of time and the loss of memory. It is about the need to vigilantly learn from the past, never forgetting black progress has always been met with resistance and erasure."--Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of The Condemnation of Blackness
"A detailed (and, at times, moving) biography... Murray's life underscores the fragility of the black elite."--Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Brilliantly researched...Taylor knows how to weave an emotional story of how race and class have long played a role in determining who succeeds and who fails."--New York Times Book Review
"Historian Elizabeth Dowling Taylor brings insight to the rise and fall of America's first educated black people."--Time magazine
"Taylor's book could not be more timely."--Chicago Tribune
"This work reads like a sweeping epic. The level of detail and research sheds light on a period that is mostly forgotten, revealing much-needed insight into African Americans' role and response in the shaping of American culture and politics... Essential."--Library Journal