Her success is an inspiration, but what about her predecessors? Who is the most famous historical African American business person? Madam C.J. Walker is often referenced as being the first Black millionaire, but that might not be the case. Shomari Wills sets the record straight. "The earliest known African American to achieve a net worth of a million dollars was William Liedesdorff. He lived free in New Orleans in the early 1840s, passing as a white man and working as a naval merchant. When he was outed as a black man, he migrated to California, then a Mexican territory populated with Native Americans and mixed-race Mexican nationals. In California, he acquired over 30,000 acres of land, which turned out to be laden with gold, just before the 1849 gold rush."