The Black Russian by Vladimir Alexandrov

Princeton Professor Uncovers Lost History

An unexpected sentence in a Russian memoir startled Princeton professor Vladimir Alexandrov. He decided to investigate the mention of a famous African American man living in Moscow. Intrigued, the professor of languages and literature had studied the history and culture of the era, but had never heard or read previously of anyone prior to 1917, of that ethnicity, from any part of the world living in Russia.

Professor Alexandrov spent a year traveling around the U.S. and to exotic locales around the world to gather research on the life and times of a man not mentioned in history books.

Fredrick Bruce Thomas, born on a Mississippi farm to remarkable parents who’d been enslaved. His father was brutally murdered in the states, long ago.

Thomas later worked in the most advanced hotel in the United States as a valet before moving to Europe where he eventually became a multi-millionaire entrepreneur. Thomas’s life would play out, set against the political and historical upheaval of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution.

Professor Alexandrov recounts the history of Frederick Bruce Thomas’s life in a compelling one-hour lecture. The author’s blog is a rich source of background material. The biography of Fredrick Bruce Thomas illustrates many lessons not just entrepreneurial.

Another lesson: Professor Alexandrov found a hidden, long-forgotten topic, within his field of interest, investigated further, and discovered an amazing story.

What topic or subject interests you most? What little-known information might you uncover in your field? Or what early products, processes, or methods might possibly be revived, adapted as a superior offering in the 21st century?


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