Madam Walker Biography

1697 Words7 Pages
The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker Businesswoman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political activist. These are just a few of the many words one can use to describe the twentieth-century phenomenon, Madam C.J. Walker. Walker became the first female, self-made millionaire. She changed the way people marketed their businesses. She revolutionized the African-American hair care product industry, and helped make changes toward black peoples’ civil rights. Madam Walker was born Sarah Breedlove two days before Christmas on December 23, 1867 to former slaves and sharecroppers, Owen and Minerva Breedlove. The Breedlove’s and their six children lived in a dilapidated shack in Delta, Louisiana, near the Mississippi River. The family spent…show more content…
Walker responded to critics by claiming that she wanted black women to emphasize their good qualities without having to imitate whites. She wanted African-American women to give their hair proper treatment and to take pride in their personal appearance (Lyman 242). The Madam C.J. Walker hair products became increasingly popular in Denver, but Walker knew her success would come from selling her products through the mail. Mr. C.J. Walker knew the procedures of the mail order business and helped his wife navigate her way. In 1906, Madam Walker expanded her company to other states (Smith 1186). Walker embarked on a year and a half, nine state tour in which she demonstrated her “Walker Method” and promoted her hair products (Felder 306). The tour was financially successful and enabled Walker to start a training school called Lelia College, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Lyman…show more content…
The Walker’s could not see eye to eye on many aspects of the business and Madam Walker felt her husband was only holding her back. After nine years of marriage, the two divorced in 1913 (Bundles 138). Although Madam C.J. Walker was primarily a businesswoman, there was more to her than just that. She was a philanthropist and political activist. Madam Walker devoted most of her later years to social and political issues. Walker was involved with and made contributions to the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Conference on Lynching, the Indianapolis YMCA, and the National Negro Business League. Walker also sponsored scholarships for women attending the Tuskegee Institute (Felder 307). During World War I, Madam Walker recruited many black soldiers to the military. She also visited many of their training camps and encouraged her agents to hold local war bond fundraisers. Walker eventually became the leader of the Circle of Negro War Relief (Higginbotham
Open Document