Friday, February 20, 2015

Famous Black Firsts: Entrepreneur Madam CJ Walker

Sarah Breedlove better known as Madam C.J . Walker was born on December 23rd 1867 in Delta, Louisiana and is regarded as the first female self-made millionaire. Her parents and siblings were all born into slavery and she was the first born free after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. This is where it gets kinda weird. At the age of 14 she married her brother to escape her step-mom's bad treatment and three years later had a daughter. Hmm. Okay. 

A few years later she moved and began working with her brothers who were all barbers. She worked as a washer barely making a dollar a day. She experienced hair issues because back then taking care of Black hair was a nightmare. In 1904 she began selling products for Annie Turnbo Malone who was a Black hair care entrepreneur. She later began making her own products and married a newspaper advertising salesman named Charles Joseph Walker. She then trained women in the art of selling hair care products. Her business grew and by 1917 she held her first Madam Walker Beauty Culturists convention. This is said to be the first national meeting of women in America brought together to discuss business practices. She let everyone know that getting involved in politics and philanthropy were important. Her business eventually expanded to Cuba, Costa Rica, Panama, Haiti, and Jamaica.

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