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Haz clic aquí para leer la historia sobre Madam C.J. Walker en español

Click here to listen to the Madam C.J. Walker story
"...we must not let our love of country, our patriotic loyalty cause us to abate one whit in our protest against wrong and injustice."

by Alexandra from St. Paul

I chose Madam C. J. Walker as a hero because I wanted to write about someone who most people have not heard about. Walker started her own business. It was the first hair-care products line specifically for African-American women. It became extremely successful. Madam Walker tried to help people by employing thousands in her business. She did not just try to get rich herself; she gave money to organizations that would help or encourage black Americans.

Madam C. J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove on Dec. 23, 1867 in Louisiana, the first member of her family born free. After her business became successful, she built a huge house near the Hudson River in New York that everyone, including white people, talked about. She built the house to show people that if you sit and wait for a star to come to you, it is not going to come. So you should get up and make a star come to you.

Walker was a keynote speaker at several NAACP conventions, and also made the biggest contribution ever given to the NAACP by a single person. She also left money in her will to many schools, organizations and other institutions. Her hair-care products showed black women that they could fulfill the ideal American image, but still show their unique heritage.

At the National Negro Business League Convention in July, 1912, Walker said:

"I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. 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 Walker died at age 51 on May 25, 1919. She is the subject of a new biography by A'Lelia Bundles entitled On Her Own Ground.

Written by Alexandra from St. Paul
Photos courtesy of the archives of Madam C.J. Walker.
Images created by "On Her Own Ground" by A'Lelia Bundles.
Last changed on: 4/22/2015 1:38:02 PM

National Women's Hall of Fame Tells the basic story of Madam C. J. Walker and gives some quick facts about her.

Madam C.J. Walker, The Official Website An informative site about the entrepreneur, philanthropist, and social activist.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Visitors interested in reading more should get:

  The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker The TRUE STORY of MADAM WALKER'S LIFE
by A'Lelia Bundle

Her Dream of Dreams: The Rise and Triumph of Madam C. J. Walker
by Beverly Lowry

On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker
by A'Lelia Bundles
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