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‘World’s Richest Negro Girl’ inspired media ridicule, fascination, alarm

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‘World’s Richest Negro Girl’ inspired media ridicule, fascination, alarm

Sarah Rector was 11 when oil was discovered on her land in Oklahoma in 1913. Her sudden wealth became the object of racist news coverage.

Deborah Brown grew up calling her “Aunt Sister,” and she remembersher storied life through the haze of childhood in segregated Kansas City, Mo., more than a half a century ago.

There were the fancy limos and Cadillacs that ferried young relatives to school and out for barbecue, the White-owned department store that opened its doors just so Sarah Rector could shop; the rolling farmland where Rector would invite Brown’s mother and the children for family gatherings.

Brown, then a grade-schooler living in a two-bedroom house with three siblings, her parents and her grandmother, marveled but didn’t dare ask questions.

“We’re from a generation where you don’t spread family business,” said Brown, a very fit-looking 72-year-old with a short afro seated in the lobby of the Hampton Inn in Bowie, Md.

Read full article @ Washington Post