- 4 years ago
The Black Russian with Vladimir Alexandrov
Bernice Bennett host welcomes Vladimir Alexandrov, Ph.D., for an engaging discussion of his book, The Black Russian. He will explore the process of researching and writing this compelling story.
The Black Russian tells the story of Frederick Bruce Thomas, who was born in 1872 to former slaves and spent his youth on his family’s farm in Mississippi. After leaving the South and working as a waiter and valet in Chicago and Brooklyn, he went to London in 1894, then traveled throughout Europe, and decided to go to Russia in 1899, all of which was highly unusual for a black American at the time. He chose Moscow as his home, and during the next nineteen years renamed himself “Fyodor Fyodorovich Tomas,” married twice, acquired a mistress, took Russian citizenship, and by dint of his talents, hard work, charm, and guile became one of the city’s richest and most famous owners of variety theaters and restaurants. The Bolshevik Revolution ruined hi