Born as the daughter of a freed man in 1902, Sarah Rector rose from humble beginnings to reportedly become the wealthiest black girl in the nation at the age of 12. In Taft, Oklahoma where she lived, an oil company struck oil on her family property that was being leased out.
This made Sarah the richest black girl in America. The white citizens were so uncomfortable with a wealthy black person, that they had to deem Sarah white. The state assigned her a white guardian to oversee her assets.
News of her story spread around the world, bringing several people looking for money and many men trying to marry the 12-year-old.
Sarah was living in rags and looked poor as her corrupt white guardian mismanaged her funds. This provoked W.E.B Du Bois and the NAACP to get involved by working with the U.S Children’s Bureau and Bureau of Indian Affairs to rectify the situation and make sure that it wouldn’t happen to any other black child ever again.
At that same time, Booker T. Washington enrolled her in his Tuskegee Institute Boarding school. She graduated at 18 and moved to Kansas City Mo. where she bought 2,000 acres and a home. She married, had three sons, and lived in unapologetic luxury.
She helped out the community and blazed trails by opening the 2nd black-owned auto dealership in the country. No matter how much the people around her tried to change or control her, she molded herself into a strong rich black woman.
Sarah Rector died on July 22,1967, from a stroke, at 65-years-old.