On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker by ALelia Perry BundlesOprah Winfrey is renowned for her media savvy, marketing sense, philanthropic efforts, and accumulated wealth (and the power that accompanies it). Shes earned her rep, of course, and her path to stardom and influence couldnt have been easy. Imagine, then, how difficult it must have been a century ago for Madam C. J. Walker, Americas first female African-American millionaire. The daughter of slaves, married and divorced by the age of 20, Madam Walker spent nearly two decades as a lowly scrubwoman before concocting (or, as she claimed, being presented in a dream) the formula for a much needed hair care product for African-American women. After making her hair care business a resounding success, Walker devoted much of her time and resources to social causes and philanthropy.
In On Her Own Ground, ALelia Bundles, Walkers great-great-grandaughter and a woman of no small accomplishment herself (shes spent many years as a television news producer for NBC and ABC), offers an affectionate but unblinking portrait of Madam Walker. (Bundles mother urged her daughter from her deathbed not to worry about promoting a particular image of their famous forebear, to simply tell the truth.) Bundles also explores the complicated relationship between Madam Walker and her only slightly less renowned daughter (and the authors namesake), ALelia Walker, a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, and the elder Walkers interactions with such other seminal African-American figures as W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington.
Madam C.J. Walker - Creating Beauty from Within
5 Fast Facts about Madam C.J. Walker
From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations…. I have built my own factory on my own ground. Madam C. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in , the first child in her family born into freedom after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Madam C. Walker Founder of Madam C. Walker Manufacturing Co. Founded: Many of the 20th century's most influential entrepreneurs overcame tremendous odds in their quests for success.
Madam C.J. Walker created specialized hair products for African both due to unknown causes, leaving Sarah an orphan at the age of seven.
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Madam C. Walker embodies the quintessential American success story, as someone who fought seemingly insurmountable odds to become one of the 20th century's most successful self-made woman entrepreneurs. The daughter of former slaves, Walker built a cosmetics empire selling hair care and beauty products for African-American women. By the time she died at age 51, she was among the first African-American millionaires in the United States. It was just over 50 years after the end of slavery. Bundles, a former television news executive and biographer, spent decades researching the life of her famous ancestor.
Walker, who invented the process for straightening kinky hair, rather than for Dr. Walker usually makes an appearance. Madam C. Only one is factual, sort of, but the amazing story behind it and how Madam Walker used that accomplishment to help others as a job creator and philanthropist might be jarring — and surprisingly empowering — even to the skeptics. I know it was for me in revisiting her life for this column. While the rest of her siblings had been born on the other side of emancipation, Sarah was free. But by 7, she was an orphan toiling in those same cotton fields.