Jeremiah G. Hamilton, the so-called “Prince of Darkness,” was a powerful Wall Street broker and considered its first Black millionaire. Hamilton used questionable tactics to amass his considerable wealth and was reportedly despised by both Black and White businessmen.

Hamilton was born either in the Caribbean Islands or Richmond, Va. in 1807, eventually establishing himself in New York City. In 1828, a 20-year-old Hamilton was tasked by powerful New York merchants to ship counterfeit Haitian currency to Port-Au-Prince, but the scam was discovered. The Black elite shunned Hamilton for disgracing Haiti and for not giving up the names of those who hired him.

But rather than hurt him, the scam established Hamilton’s career. Soon after he launched an insurance scheme where he insured fleets for more than they were worth and purposefully wrecked the vessels to collect the funds. He made so much money that the marine industry banded against him in 1835 vowing not to use his insurance company. (READ MORE)(SOURCE: BLACKAMERICAWEB.COM)