In whatever role he chose–civil rights leader, wealthy entrepreneur, or unconventional surgeon–Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard (1908-76) was always close to controversy. One of the leading renaissance men of twentieth century black history, Howard successfully organized a grassroots boycott against Jim Crow in the 1950s. Well known for his benevolence, fun-loving lifestyle, and fabulous parties attended by such celebrities as Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson, he could also be difficult to work with when he let his boundless ego get the best of him. A trained medical doctor, he kept the secrets of the white elite, and although married to one woman for forty years, he had many personal peccadilloes. But T. R. M. Howard’s impressive accomplishments and abilities vastly outshone his personal flaws and foibles. He was a dynamic civil rights pioneer and promoter of self-help and business enterprise among blacks.
With this remarkable biography, David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito secure Howard’s rightful place in African American history. Drawing from dozens of interviews with Howard’s friends and contemporaries, as well as FBI files, court documents, and private papers, the authors present a fittingly vibrant portrait of a complicated leader, iconoclastic businessman, and tireless activist.