Honoring Black History — The Socialite Who Became Rich

Amanda Dickson Toomer beat all odds of Slavery.

L. Jean Davis


slave house on cotton field
Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash slave house on cotton field

Amanda Dickson Toomer

In my hometown, Atlanta, Georgia, there was an African American woman who became one of the wealthiest women of the 19th Century.

Amanda Dickson was born to a 13-year-old enslaved African girl and a white planter farmer. Her father was David Dickson, and he owned 17000 acres of land in the Atlanta area.

When Amanda was born, she was taken by her white maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Dickens. Mrs. Dickens taught her how to become a lady and socialite in her father’s class. Amanda lived a life of privilege, and when she came of age, she went to Atlanta University.

Atlanta University is a private black research University in Atlanta. In 1988, Atlanta University was combined with Clark College and is now Clark Atlanta University. It is now classified among “R2 Doctoral Universities-High research activities.

Amanda married her first husband at the age of sixteen. He was white and was her first cousin. The laws in Georgia forbid interracial marriage, so there is no record of the marriage. After four years of marriage, if there was a marriage — Amanda became unhappy and returned to her father’s plantation with her sons. They had two sons who married into wealthy families when they came of age.

Amanda’s father died in 1885 and left her with the estate. All of his 79 white relatives came out and contested the will. She eventually won after going through all the courts. That is usually what happens when money is involved. You can go to Amanda Dickson to read the full details of the court case.

In 1892, Amanda married an affluent, educated African American man of her class, Nathan Toomer. Eleven months later, she died, although Dr. said she was getting better. She had a stressful event happen in her family.

A House Divided

Charles, her younger son became obsessed during those 11 months while she was healing. He was then 23 years old and married to a wealthy socialite, Kate Holsey, but that did not stop Charles from being out of control, effectuated by his stepsister Mamie. She was only 14 years old, and he…



L. Jean Davis

Never too late to pursue your dreams after 60, which I did. I am a freelance writer. I love to write about real life , travel, history, natural foods.