What up book people? Y’all remember when I talked about The Personal Librarian and The Great Mrs. Elias, right? First, read those two in the order I mentioned. Trust me. Second, the third book in the “Black Women are Dope Historical Fiction Based on a True Story Trifecta” is today’s book. It’s Carolina Built by Kianna Alexander. So let’s get right into it.
This is a fictionalized account of a true story that follows Josephine Leary who was born on a slaveplantation in North Carolina. After becoming free, she gets married and goes into business with her husband. They have a barber shop/hair salon together. But Josephine manages her money herself - and y’all know that was unheard of back then. She starts buying real estate and ultimately becomes one of the wealthiest Black people in North Carolina. The story really focuses a lot on her relationship with her husband. And chile the toxic masculinity in here had me giving some major eyerolls. The fragility of his ego was a bit much.
This book was so interesting and such an important part of our history. She was one of the stories that was a hidden gem that we missed and didn’t learn about. Put this on your reading list immediately and make sure you read about all three dynamic women in this trifecta - Belle de Costa Greene, Hannah Elias and Josephine Leary.