The MY HERO Project | Library

On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker

By A'Lelia Bundles

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, January 2002
ISBN: 0743431723
MY HERO recommends this book to adult readers.
On Her Own Ground is the first full-scale, definitive biography of Madam C.J. Walker -- the legendary African American entrepreneur and philanthropist -- by her great-great-granddaughter, A'Lelia Bundles.

The daughter of slaves, Madam C.J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at fourteen and widowed at twenty. She spent the better part of the next two decades laboring as a washerwoman for $1.50 a week. Then -- with the discovery of a revolutionary hair care formula for black women -- everything changed. By her death in 1919, Walker managed to overcome astonishing odds: building a storied beauty empire from the ground up, amassing wealth unprecedented among black women and devoting her life to philanthropy and social activism. Along the way, she formed friendships with great early-twentieth-century political figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington.

On Her Own Ground is not only the first comprehensive biography of one of recent history's most amazing entrepreneurs and philanthropists, it is about a woman who is truly an African American icon. Drawn from more than two decades of exhaustive research, the book is enriched by the author's exclusive access to personal letters, records and never-before-seen photographs from the family collection. Bundles also showcases Walker's complex relationship with her daughter, A'Lelia Walker, a celebrated hostess of the Harlem Renaissance and renowned friend to both Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. In chapters such as "Freedom Baby," "Motherless Child," "Bold Moves" and "Black Metropolis," Bundles traces her ancestor's improbable rise to the top of an international hair care empire that would be run by four generations of Walker women until its sale in 1985. Along the way, On Her Own Ground reveals surprising insights, tells fascinating stories and dispels many misconceptions.

User Reviews:
skylar | 3/3/2010 1:55 AM
madam cj walker she has changed the lives (and hair) of many
CheySemone | 3/22/2007 8:16 AM
I love her SO MUCH and I am so grateful that she cared enough to make her inventions known. Even though I haven't personally used a hot comb, my friends have. I use flat irons and other hair care products that were of course inpired by Madam C.J. Walker. Not only did she create AMAZING products, but she gave hope to all powerful black women that they too can make something MORE of themselves and a little self improvement wouldn't hurt.
Thank You Ma'am.
hey my name is brittany and i am doing a research project on you and i would love for someone to give me some more information on madam c.j. walker THANK YOU.......

You may want to begin with the MY HERO story about Madam CJ Walker.  Here is the link:  Another good link to check out is the National Women's Hall of Fame at  Good luck on your project.

--The MY HERO Library Staff

Nevaeh | 3/20/2006 3:03 AM
I chose madam cj walker{sarah Breedlove}as my hero because as a black girl that i am she helped all of us afrcan american people grow their hair back and make their hair look nice and tore up like some of the white folks have their hair lokking extra niceby just brushing their hair and our hair is not anything like theirs so she made different products for black girls hair.
can't tell you | 12/12/2005 8:13 AM
it  was  a  good book

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