Sunday, August 19, 2018

THE SUNDAY LOOK INTO THE NYT ARCHIVES: "Negro Finds Way to Wealth" By Profiting From Racism

The below newspaper clip is from the front page of the August 18, 1900  issue of  The New York Times.

At the turn of the century in 1900, a clever black man found a way to profit from racism.

 J.D. Bowser, a Kansas City principal at the Attucks School, would buy houses next to white people in "aristocratic neighborhoods" and move in and only sell the houses for "exorbitant profit" to his white racist neighbors who wanted to get him out of the neighborhood.

The clip below reports on his being put on trial before the Board of Education for his activities.

Bowser's heroic defense was to claim that he had a right as a free born American citizen to live where he pleases and to sell his property at whatever price he could find a purchaser willing to pay.

(Note: I couldn't find a Times report on the outcome of the trial.)



1 comment:

  1. The entrepreneurial point is interesting, but I find the reactions also to be interesting. From the few facts presented, we can see an Austro-libertarian reaction and a statist reaction.

    The Austro-libertarian reaction is illustrated by those neighbors who didn't want Bowser there, and who were willing to buy him out in a peaceful exchange; the amount they paid him shows how much subjective value they placed on being rid of him. It put a price on their apparent racism.

    The statist reaction is illustrated by what appears to be the state trying to use the force of its courts (maybe based on some arcane regulation?) to stop both his peaceful acquisition of land and his neighbors' peaceful purchases from him.