By Tom Huddleston Jr. via https://www.cnbc.com/
Mary Ellen Pleasant may not be a household name, but her story rivals that of any great American entrepreneur. In the 1800s, Pleasant became one of the first African-American female self-made millionaires in the U.S. despite the significant obstacles she faced as black woman.
Pleasant employed her inherent savvy, building a massive investment portfolio that was reportedly worth as much as $30 million at one time — a fortune that would make her close to a billionaire in today’s value.
She put her fortune to use aiding abolitionist causes across the country while helping slaves escape through the Underground Railroad and settle down in free states. Here’s her story.
How she built a fortune
Born in 1814 (some biographers say she was born into slavery on a Georgia plantation, though she claimed to have been born free in Philadelphia), Pleasant was separated from her parents at a young age…