Film and TV Rights Picked up for Karl Jacoby’s Book About Slave-Turned-Millionaire in Turn-of-the-Century America

Deadline reports that indie filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez has optioned the film and TV rights for The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire, the 2016 book by Karl Jacoby, current Executive Committee member at CSSD. Ellis was an African-American businessman who “passed” as Mexican to become an exceptionally wealthy Wall Street banker. Rodriguez, best known for his biographical documentaries on race, art, and politics, is quoted as saying:

“Karl Jacoby’s stranger-than-fiction historical biography unfolds the private life and social world of a bold, but enigmatic figure who flitted in and out of an astonishing array of his era’s most noteworthy events. His journey will resonate in today’s climate in which we are again rewriting the rules of race and identity.”