Don Cheadle has joined the behind-the-scenes team working to bring the story of Jeremiah Hamilton, Wall Street’s first Black millionaire, to HBO Max.
According to Variety, Cheadle will serve as executive producer alongside Hollywood heavyweight Steven Soderbergh and Carlos Foglia, who also leads the team of writers developing the project. The mini series is tentatively titled “The Other Hamilton,” and is based on Shane White‘s book 2015 book “Prince of Darkness: The Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street’s First Black Millionaire.”
Hamilton was the only African-American broker to join New York City’s so-called millionaire club in the mid-1800s, amassing approximately $2 million over the course of his life – a figure equivalent to $250 million today, Historians.org. He earned the nickname “Prince of Darkeness” for the illegal and unscrupulous ways by which he he made that fortune.
The bulk of his earnings were generated through insurance fraud, carrying out schemes that targeted both insurance companies and their policy holders equally.
Even Hamilton’s arrival in New York City was linked to an intricate counterfeiting scam.
In what may have been the first recorded incident in his criminal career, Hamilton arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1828 and began using counterfeit bills and toys to pay for everything. It didn’t take long for his victims to alert the authorities.
A death sentence and a $300 bounty were placed on Hamilton’s head. He allegedly remained in the Haitian capital for about 12 more days before stowing away onto a ship bound for New York City. By the time he returned to the United States, his antics had become well known, with Black newspapers calling him a discredit to the race.
When Hamilton died in 1870, he was still the richest Black man in America.
This is the latest project for Cheadle’s content production and digital programming company, This Radical Act, which he launched in 2019. He is also currently starring in and executive producing Showtime’s Black Monday, another period piece centered around Wall Street