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Notebook and Pen

Introducing Mary Ellen Pleasant

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Black Wall Street

Empire State of Mind


Black Wall Street

Empire State of Mind


Black Wall Street – Empire State of Mind


By Ron Shabazz Shillingford. Copyright © Ronald Shillingford 2018 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Beautiful fugitive slave Mary Ellen Pleasant and her heroic husband risk their lives sneaking onto plantations freeing slaves. Mary Ellen is suspected of killing him for the inheritance and her financial support of fugitive para-military abolitionist John Brown, wanted for High Treason. Despite her trials, she stops the reintroduction of slavery throughout Central and Southern America. To do so she gets into bed with two of Wall Street’s most ruthless businessmen to change the course of history.

After escaping the clutches of the Sheriff of New Orleans, Mary Ellen flees to San Francisco during the gold rush, already rich, from her inheritance. The city is now a commercial bottleneck of movers and shakers. Mary Ellen forms a catering business employing slaves she has freed, cooking and waiting tables of expensive boarding houses. Diners spew their secrets in front of the socially inconsequential black ex-slaves who serve them. The waitresses learn highly valuable and financially sensitive information of corporations, visionaries, business and political leaders. To prise valuable intel from reluctant marks, Mary Ellen deploys the amazingly voluptuous and sexually dynamic duo Annie and Venus in a process Mary Ellen calls White-Male-ing, leveraging secrets. Insider-information on listed companies makes her millions on the New York Stock Exchange. The money frees more slaves, expanding her eavesdropping network, in a virtuous circle, gathering more and more information for leverage, increasing her power and influence in San Francisco. The network brings to light a quixotic plan for a Central and Southern America Slave empire, to begin in Nicaragua, led by William Walker.

Walker fosters Napoleonic ambitions to become an emperor in the gilded age of America, a country experiencing the fastest commercial expansion in human history. The slogan of Manifest Destiny and the fervour of U.S. imperialism and expansionism provides him with the opportunity. The teetering Nicaraguan Government engulfed in civil war offers Walker a deal. In exchange for military assistance, they offer him thousands of acres of fertile land and a promise to reintroduce slavery. This motivates disgruntled Southern planters, who under threat of abolition, secession and civil war, join Walker in their thousands. His jump-off spot for the Nicaraguan invasion is San Francisco. This brings him within the grasp of Mary Ellen.

Walker travels to Wall Street in a vain attempt to raise cash, selling Land Bonds backed by the Nicaraguan government, for the upcoming invasion. He resorts to an outsider ‘Nigger Hamilton’ (as he’s known in the press) Wall Street’s first black millionaire. As the rest of Wall Street, he’s corrupt and indifferent to the struggle for emancipation, but amazingly well-read and fearless. Fully aware of Walker’s plans for the expansion of slavery, Hamilton sells Walker’s bonds raising the cash, receiving a handsome commission. But it was contingent on Walker helping him to rip-off the ruthless self-made Robber Baron, Cornelius Vanderbilt, America’s richest man in revenge for destroying his shareholding in Vanderbilt’s company. 

Vanderbilt’s company has a monopoly taking passengers and cargo from New York on the Atlantic coast through the Isthmus of Nicaragua to San Francisco on the Pacific coast. When the civil war broke out in Nicaragua the price of the company’s stock plummeted. Hamilton is furious at Vanderbilt secret manipulating of the stock price to remain low enabling him to financially squeeze out partners and increase his controlling stake. He explains to Walker, who relies on Vanderbilt’s ships, that he is insured against the share price dropping to a certain level. To get it to that level he trying to get Vanderbilt’s company wound-up accusing Vanderbilt of mismanagement. Vanderbilt has countered having Hamilton arrested and charged with insurance fraud in an attempt to sabotage the company and collect a pay-out. Hamilton tells Walker that two of his clients are partners with Vanderbilt and are quietly building a controlling stake to oust him whilst he’s on holiday in Europe. If Walker cooperates after his Coup D’état in Nicaragua and seize Vanderbilt’s Nicaraguan assets Hamilton offers to split the insurance payout and provide Walker with further funds for guns and mercenaries. In addition, he’ll have a stake in the newly seized Nicaraguan subsidiary. Walker feels boxed-in. He must sell the bonds and he must work with Vanderbilt’s enemies without Vanderbilt being aware of the double-cross. Once he has what he needs he can dispense with whoever’s the lesser evil. Walker agrees to work with Hamilton. 

Vanderbilt initially supported Walker’s invasion plans in exchange for a deal to build a train line joining the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. He learns of the double-cross. Already at war with Hamilton, Vanderbilt opens yet another war front, financing a central American allied army to opposed Walker, in secret. 

The courtroom battle between Hamilton and Vanderbilt unfolds daily in the press and withers the stock price further. But unbeknown to Walker the whole court case is a trick designed to drive down the share price. Hamilton and Vanderbilt are in cahoots and plan to pick up shares cheaply to corner the market, taking advantage of the Nicaraguan civil war. 

Archey-Lee, a young teenager recently freed, is been kidnapped whilst in the care of Mary Ellen and taken to Nicaragua. Walker nears his plan for the American continent toppling, domino fashion, back into total slavery with him at the center of a slave-trading bloc. Mary Ellen organizes Hamilton and Vanderbilt into a money-spinning pact. Her secret weapon is a specialist crack guerrilla unit, formed by white Christian extremist, on a crusade against slavery. They have been working together for years. The Immortals wade into the Nicaraguan civil war behind enemy lines and get to Walker. News of Walker’s execution hits the New York Stock Exchange Vanderbilt’s company’s shares price rebounds through the roof. That gets the trio not only enormous stock profits, but Walker’s head. The Immortals rescue Archey-Lee. Mary Ellen, and inadvertently, Jeremiah Hamilton and Cornelius Vanderbilt save the Americas from slavery expanding from Canada to Argentina. 

This story is based on a true event. 

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Filibuster in Nicaragua, Part 6: William Walker vs. Cornelius Vanderbilt

Filibuster in Nicaragua, Part 6: William Walker vs. Cornelius Vanderbilt

As William Walker struggles to maintain his control on Nicaragua, the Latin American Allies working with Cornelius Vanderbilt are finally able to dethrone the self-appointed “President of Nicaragua,” finally ending the American endeavor at conquering Nicaragua and the surrounding countries. This episode is Part 6 of 6 in the story of William Walker’s attempt at establishing his own Republic of Nicaragua. A clarification from Chris Calton: I claim that the Sharps rifle had a range of “twenty football fields.” A listener pointed out that Wikipedia lists an effective firing range of only 500 yards, and a maximum range of 1,000 yards. In 'Tycoon’s War', Stephen Dando-Collins writes, “The Hondurans thought they were out of range, but the Sharps rifle had a range of two thousand yards.” Neither Wikipedia nor Dando-Collins offer a citation for their range estimates, so I don’t know which one is correct, but I was referencing Dando-Collins for my claim. Chris Calton gives a revisionist look at the antebellum period leading up to the Civil War. This is the 19th episode in the second season of Historical Controversies. Historical Controversies is available online at: RSS: iTunes: Google Play: Soundcloud: Stitcher: Music: "On the Ground" by Kevin MacLeod (, licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Walker (1987) | Based on a True Story
The Cynical Historian

Walker (1987) | Based on a True Story

Walker is perhaps the most inaccurate movie I’ve ever reviewed. Yet, I absolutely love it for that. Some of this review will ruin the surprise of it, so let me just say: it is the best inaccurate movie I know. I’ll get into why later, and put up a spoiler warning there. It has a disctly current leaning, but is also meant to lampoon the person it is based on. See my rediculous cover of the Walker theme song here: ------------------------------------------------------------ references: William Walker, _War in Nicaragua_ (New York: SH Goetzel & Co, 1860). Joseph Stout Jr, _Schemers & Dreamers: Filibustering in Mexico_ (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 2002). Alan Axelrod, _America’s Wars_ (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), 336-38, 361-63, 366-68, 494-95, 496-99. Richard Slotkin, _The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, _ (New York: Atheneum Books, 1985), 242-278. ------------------------------------------------------------ SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE VIDEOS: Support the channel through Patreon: or pick up some merchandise at SpreadShirt: LET'S CONNECT: ------------------------------------------------------------ Wiki: Walker is a 1987 American-Spanish historical revisionist film directed by Alex Cox and starring Ed Harris, Richard Masur, René Auberjonois, Peter Boyle, Miguel Sandoval, and Marlee Matlin. The film is based on the life story of William Walker, the American filibuster who invaded and made himself president of Nicaragua. It was written by Rudy Wurlitzer and scored by Joe Strummer, who has a small role as a member of Walker's army. The film is intentionally full of anachronisms such as helicopters, Zippo lighters, automatic rifles, and cars. It was filmed in Nicaragua during the Contra War. ------------------------------------------------------------ Hashtags: #History #Filibuster #WilliamWalker #Walker #Review #BasedOnATrueStory #USNicaraguaRelations
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