Great Black Women in HistoryStaying informed is half the battle...

Madame C. J. Walker
Madame C. J. Walker Madame C. J. Walker


As a manufacturer of hair care products for African American women, Madame C J Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, became one of the first American women millionaires Madame C J Walker, named Sarah Breedlove at birth, was born December 23, 1867, in Delta, Louisiana, to Owen and Minerva Breedlove, both of whom were emancipated (freed) slaves and worked on a cotton plantation At the age of six Sarah's parents died after the area was struck by yellow fever, a deadly disease oftentimes spread by mosquitoes The young girl then moved to Vicksburg to live with her sister Louvinia and to work as a housemaid She worked hard from the time she was very young, was extremely poor, and had little opportunity to get an education In order to escape the terrible environment created by Louvinia's husband, Sarah married Moses McWilliams when she was only fourteen years old.

At eighteen she gave birth to a daughter she named Lelia Two years later her husband died Sarah then decided to move to St Louis, Missouri, where she worked as a laundress (a woman who washes people's clothes as a job) and in other domestic positions for eighteen years She joined St Paul's African Methodist Episcopal Church and put her daughter through the public schools and Knoxville College Sarah, who was barely literate (able to read and write), was especially proud of her daughter's educational accomplishments By the time Sarah was in her late thirties, she was dealing with hair loss because of a combination of stress and damaging hair care products After experimenting with various methods, she developed a formula of her own that caused her hair to grow again quickly She often said that after praying about her hair, she was given the formula in a dream.

When friends and family members noticed how Sarah's hair grew back, they began to ask her to duplicate her product for them She began to prepare her formula at home, selling it to friends and family and also selling it door to door Sarah began to advertise a growing number of hair care products with the help of her family and her second husband, Charles Joseph Walker, a newspaperman whom she had married in 1906 after she moved to Denver, Colorado She also adopted her husband's initials and surname as her professional name, calling herself Madame C J Walker for the rest of her life, even after the marriage ended Her husband helped her develop mail marketing techniques for her products, usually through the African American-owned newspapers When their small business was successful, with earnings of about ten dollars a day, Walker thought she should continue to expand, but her husband thought otherwise Rather than allow her husband's wishes to slow her work, the couple separated Walker's business continued to expand.

She not only marketed her hair care products but also tutored African American men and women in their use, recruiting a group called "Walker Agents" Her products were often used with a metal comb that was heated on the stove, then applied to straighten very curly hair She also began to manufacture a facial skin cream The hair process was controversial (open to dispute) because many felt that African American women should wear their hair in natural styles rather than attempt to change the texture from curly to straight In spite of critics, Walker's hair care methods gained increasing popularity among African American women, who enjoyed products designed especially for them This resulted in growing profits for Walker's business and an increasing number of agents who marketed the products for her door to door Walker worked closely with her daughter Lelia and opened a school for "hair culturists" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,—Lelia College—which operated from 1908 to 1910 In 1910 the Walkers moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where they established a modern factory to produce their products They also began to hire African American professionals who could direct various aspects of their operation Among the workers were tutors who helped Walker get a basic education.

Walker traveled throughout the nation demonstrating her products, recruiting salespersons, and encouraging African American entrepreneurs (business investors) Her rounds included conventions of African American organizations, churches, and civic groups Not content with her domestic achievements, Walker traveled to the Caribbean and Latin America to promote her business and to recruit individuals to teach her hair care methods Observers estimated that Walker's company had about three thousand agents for whom Walker held annual conventions where they were tutored in product use, hygienic (cleaning) care techniques, and marketing strategies She also gave cash awards to those who were most successful in promoting sales At Lelia's urging, Walker purchased property in New York City in 1913, with the belief that a base in that city would be important In 1916 she moved to a luxurious town-house she had built in Harlem, and a year later to an estate called Villa Lewaro she had constructed at Irvington-on-Hudson, New York Although Walker and her daughter lived well, they carefully managed each aspect of their business, whose headquarters remained in Indianapolis, and gave to a number of philanthropic (charity) organizations According to rumor, Walker's first husband was lynched (killed by a group of people acting outside of the law) Perhaps it was partially for this reason that Walker supported antilynching legislation (laws) and gave generously to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), eventually willing that organization her estate in Irvington-on-Hudson.

The Walkers generously supported religious, educational, charitable, and civil rights organizations Walker did not listen to her doctors' warnings that her fast-paced life was hurting her health On May 25, 1919, when she was fifty-one years old, she died of hypertension (high blood pressure) Her funeral service was held in Mother Zion African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in New York City Celebrated African American educator Mary McLeod Bethune (1875–1955) delivered the eulogy (a tribute), and Walker was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx Her daughter, Lelia, took over her role as president of the Madame C J Walker Manufacturing Company .

Indiana Bicentennial Minute 08
Madam C.J. Walker.
Watch Video
Black History Short #1: Black Hair Care
We talk a little about the humble beginning of hair care for black women started by Annie Malone and Sarah Breedlove (a.k.a. Madame C.J. Walker)
Watch Video
A New Perspective on the History of Black Hair
After Being around the hair care industry a great deal of my life. An ex hair studio owner I found this video to be very enlightening. Especially when the narrator ...
Watch Video
Black Businesspeople youve never heard of
James Forten, Sr.,Madame C.J.Walker, Thomas Day, Annie Turnbo Malone.
Watch Video
Black Women in History
Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman and Madame CJ Walker recount the past.
Watch Video
Black History: I Cant Believe I NEVER KNEW... | Thomas Sanders
It's February, once again, and so, in order to pay tribute to Black History Month, my friends and I decide to challenge ourselves on our knowledge of Black history.
Watch Video
On the Scene Interview: John Thompson
Indianapolis business leader John Thompson is interviewed by's Faith McKinney at the Madame CJ Walker Center after receiving the Business ...
Watch Video
My Cantu Routine | Curly Hair
Watch in HD! OPEN FOR DETAILS PRODUCTS MENTIONED: DevaCurl B'Leave-In Cantu Comeback Curl Next Day Curl Revitalizer SheaMoisture Dragon's ...
Watch Video
thank you so much for watching! be sure to comment, rate, and subscribe! ----------------------------------------——————————————— PRODUCTS ...
Watch Video
Hair Apparent
Madam C.J. Walker was America's first female self-made millionaire who was born into slavery and made her fortune with hair care products. One of her ...
Watch Video
African American Inventors
8 Top Technologies Created by Ingenious Black Inventors: Frederick McKinley Jones, Henry T. Sampson, Madame C.J. Walker, Garrett Morgan, Granville T.
Watch Video
WASH/STYLE/Hair Chat About My Hair!!
Video Is Not Sponsored, But Since I'm a "Blogger" I do get sent things to try, these are products I actually like and work well on my Fine Colored treated Hair.
Watch Video
Desreta Jackson, CEO of Black Silk Healthy Hair Products & Expo
Desreta Jackson, the modern day Madame CJ Walker, talks healthy hair, natural products and new Nat Turner movie.
Watch Video
Watch Video
BRAID AND CURL || Chubby Curls Product Review
Braid and Curl using Chubby Curls all natural hair butter. NO ALCOHOL. NO MINERAL OIL. NO PETROLEUM. NO SILICONE. PRODUCTS USED: 1. Chubby ...
Watch Video
WNTW Hair Edition
Hello In this video I show you a few items that I picked up and used recently. 1)By Made Beautiful Inspire line 2)Madame CJ Walker Cowash 3)Lotta Body Co ...
Watch Video
Wigging , weaving, and straightening our hair has been around a very long time. Madame CJ Walker started it all.
Watch Video
Top 10 African American Inventors Otis Boykin, Garrett Morgan, Patricia Bath, Granville Woods
10. Madame C J Walker 1867 – 1919 9. Frederick McKinley Jones 1893 – 1961 8. Jan Ernst Matzeliger 1852 – 1889 7. Norbert Rillieux 1806 – 1894 6. George ...
Watch Video
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence interview_ by Faith
An exclusive interview with Indiana Govenor Mike Pence by Faith McKinney of after the keynote speech at the 2013 Madame C.J. Walker ...
Watch Video
WNTW Mid June
Hello Here is my latest WNTW (What's New This Week) video, where I share some of the items that I picked up recently. 1)Milk Deodorant ...
Watch Video