William “Bill” McDonald is thought to be the first black millionaire in the state of Texas and he found his fortune in Fort Worth.
McDonald, known to many at the time as “Gooseneck”, owned a bank in a bustling part of Downtown Fort Worth.
“The fact that he was owning a bank at the time that he was owning a bank – the only black bank in Texas at the time – he became a millionaire,” Bob Ray Sanders of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce explained.
“[The bank] was the center of this black business group where you had hotels, you had restaurants, a movie theater [and] barbershops. It was a thriving place and Bill McDonald was right in the middle of it,” Sanders added.
McDonald stood tall in stature and was respected across the state.
“He was there trying to have an impact within the black community as well as the entire community – Fort Worth in general,” Sanders said. “Some say that during the Great Depression, when some of the white banks got in trouble, they had to depend of Bill McDonald to bail them out. That’s an amazing legacy unto itself.”
McDonald was also the head of the Republican Party in Texas; representing the entire state at the national conventions.
He died in 1950 at the age of 84.