In the early 20th century, the only Americans really capable of amassing wealth were white citizens. So of course, white people were uncomfortable around any non-white person with any wealth whatsoever. Sarah Rector was one such person, and her story appears in the video below.
Through a magnificent stroke of luck, Rector's family happened to own a valuable plot of land. At just 12 years old, Rector inherited the land and the fortune that came with it, instantly making her considerably wealthier than many white people.
At a time when eugenics was considered valid science, many whites felt uneasy at the thought of a non-white person surpassing them in terms of success, especially one descended from a slave. To put white people at ease, the state of Oklahoma legally changed Sarah Rector's race.
Though she gained the legal protections whiteness allowed, Rector still endured exploitation, ridicule, and resentment for her good fortune and unique circumstances. Watch the video below to learn what life was like for a rich woman considered both black and white.