Who was Mrs. C.J. Walker?
Madame C. J. Walker invented a line of African-American hair care products after suffering from a scalp condition that caused her own hair loss. He promoted his products by traveling around the country giving talks and demonstrations, eventually establishing Madame C.J. Laboratories. Walker to manufacture cosmetics and train sales beauticians.
Her business acumen led her to be one of the first American women to become a millionaire. She was also known for her philanthropic efforts, including a donation towards the construction of an Indianapolis YMCA in 1913. Walker's life was depicted in the 2020 television show.Self made, swindleroctavia spencerplaying Walker.
Walker was born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, on a cotton plantation near Delta, Louisiana. Her parents, Owen and Minerva, were enslaved and recently freed, and Sarah, who was her fifth child, was the first of her family to be born free.
Minerva died in 1874 and Owen died the following year, both of unknown causes, leaving Sarah an orphan at the age of seven. After her parents passed away, Sarah moved in with her sister, Louvinia, and her brother-in-law.
The three moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1877, where Sarah picked cotton and likely worked from home, although no documentation exists to support her employment at the time.
Daughter A'Lelia Walker
At age 14, to escape her oppressive work environment and the frequent abuse she suffered at the hands of her brother-in-law, Sarah married a man named Moses McWilliams. On June 6, 1885, Sarah gave birth to a daughter, A'Lelia.
When Moses died two years later, Sarah and A'Lelia moved to St. Louis, where Sarah's brothers set up shop as hairdressers. There, Sarah found work as a laundress, earning $1.50 a day, enough to send her daughter to the city's public schools.
He also attended night public school whenever he could. While in St. Louis, Breedlove met her husband Charles J. Walker, who worked in advertising and would later help promote her hair care business.
During the 1890s, Sarah developed a scalp condition that caused her to lose a lot of hair, and she began experimenting with home remedies and store-bought hair treatments in an attempt to improve her condition.
In 1905, she was hired as a commissioner by Annie Turnbo Malone, a successful black hair care businesswoman, and moved to Denver, Colorado.
READ MORE: How Madame C.J. Walker invented your hair products
Sra. C.J. Walker Company
While there, Sarah's husband Charles helped her create ads for an African-American hair treatment she was perfecting. Her husband also encouraged her to use the better-known name "Madam C.J. Walker", by which she has since become known.
In 1907, Walker and her husband toured the South and Southeast promoting their products and giving lecture demonstrations of their "Walker Method", which involved their own formula of ointment, brushing and the use of hot combs.
As profits continued to grow, in 1908 Walker opened a factory and beauty school in Pittsburgh, and in 1910, when Walker moved her business operations to Indianapolis, Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company became tremendously successful with modern profits. day equivalent to several million dollars.
In Indianapolis, the company not only made cosmetics, but also trained sales estheticians. These "walking agents" became well known in black communities across the United States. In turn, they promoted Walker's philosophy of "cleanliness and beauty" as a means of improving the status of African Americans.
A relentless innovator, Walker organized clubs and conventions for her representatives that recognized not only successful sales but also philanthropic and educational efforts among African Americans.
In 1913, Walker and Charles were divorced, and she traveled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean promoting her business and recruiting others to teach her hair care methods. While her mother was away, A'Lelia helped facilitate the purchase of a property in Harlem, New York, recognizing that the area would be an important base for future business operations.
In 1916, upon returning from his travels, Walker moved into his new home in Harlem. From there, he would continue to operate his business, leaving the day-to-day operations of his Indianapolis factory to his foreman.
Walker was quickly immersed in the social and political culture ofHarlem Renaissance. He founded philanthropic works that included scholarships and donations to nursing homes, theNAACP, and the National Conference on Lynching, among other organizations focused on improving the lives of African Americans.
He also donated more money for an African American to build a YMCA in Indianapolis in 1913.
In 1918, in Irvington-on-Hudson, about 20 miles north of New York City in the Hudson Valley, Walker built an Italianate mansion he calledVila Lewaro. It was designed by Vertner Tandy, a talented African-American architect.
Villa Lewaro was a gathering place for many Harlem Renaissance luminaries and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
READ MORE: Madam C.J. Walker and 9 Black Inventors Who Changed His Life
Walker died of hypertension on May 25, 1919, aged 51, at Villa Lewaro.
In 1981, Madame C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company ceased operations. A line of cosmetics and hair products under the name ofMadame C.J. Walker Beauty CultureIt is available at Sephora stores.
Walker left a third of his estate to his daughter, who would also be known as an important part of the Harlem Renaissance, and the remainder to various charities. Walker's funeral was held at Villa Lewaro and she was interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.
Legacy and TV show
In 1927, the Walker Building, an arts center that Walker began working on before his death, opened in Indianapolis. An important African-American cultural center for decades, it is now a Registered National Historic Landmark. In 1998, the United States Postal Service issued a Walker stamp as part of its "Black Heritage" series.
Walker's life was depicted in the 2020 TV showSelf made, swindleroctavia spencerplaying Walker.
- Name: Mrs. C.J. walker
- Year of birth: 1867
- Date of birth: December 23, 1867
- State of birth: Louisiana
- Hometown: near Delta
- Country of birth: United States
- Best known for: Madam C.J. Walker created specialized hair care products for African American hair and was one of the first American women to become millionaires.
- Civil rights
- Business and Industry
- Astrological Sign: Capricorn
- interesting data
- Madame C. J. Walker was the first American woman to become a millionaire.
- In 1913, Madame C.J. Walker donated more money than an African American to build a YMCA in Indianapolis.
- Also a civil rights activist, in 1917, Mrs. C.J. Walker was part of a delegation that traveled to the White House to petition President Woodrow Wilson to make lynching a federal crime.
- Year of death: 1919
- Date of death: May 25, 1919
- State of Death: New York
- City of Death: Irvington-on-Hudson
- Country of death: United States
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- Title of the article: Biography of Madame C.J. walker
- Author: Biography.com Publishers
- Website name: The Biography.com website
- URL: https://www.biography.com/business-leaders/madam-cj-walker
- Access date:
- Editor: A&E Television Networks
- Last updated: November 12, 2021
- Original Publish Date: April 3, 2014
- I want the broad masses of my people to take more pride in their personal appearance and pay due attention to their hair.
- There would be no hair growth business today if I hadn't started it.
- It can be said that I was the first and that I awakened others to a sense of their duty to help noble causes for the benefit of the race.
- I am a woman who came from the southern cotton fields. From there I was promoted to laundry. From there I was promoted to cook. And from there I promoted myself in the business of manufacturing products and hair preparations.
- This is the greatest country under the sun. But we must not allow our love for our country, our patriotic loyalty, to dampen our protest against evil and injustice in the slightest.
- One night I had a dream, and in that dream a big black man appeared to me and told me what to mix for my hair. I decided that I would start selling it.
- Perseverance is my motto!
- I am not satisfied with making money for myself. I strive to employ hundreds of women of my race.
- [Perseverance] gave us the telegraph, the telephone, and the radio. He gave the world an Abraham Lincoln and racial freedom.
- I am not ashamed of my humble beginnings. Don't think that having to get into the bathtub makes you any less of a lady!
- There is no real flower-decked path to success. And if it exists, I haven't found it because if I've achieved something in life, it's because I've been willing to work hard.
- I started giving myself a start.
- I had to make my own life and my own chance. But I got it! Don't sit around waiting for opportunities to come your way. Get up and do them.