Celebrating Madame C.J. Walker

Honoring Black History Series: This month as a part of our commitment to honor black history, Access team members will be sharing about businesses, books, literature, stories, podcasts, films, songs, or pieces of art created by black authors, leaders, entrepreneurs, and artists that have impacted us.

By Kim Starks, Poverty Education Director

Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C. J. Walker, was an African-American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist. Walker was considered the wealthiest African-American businesses woman and wealthiest self-made woman in America at the time of her death in 1919. She was the first African American woman millionaire. Her net worth was 10 Million in 1919! 

She was born to slaves that became share croppers and she was orphaned at seven. She married to get away from an abusive brother, ended up divorced and a single mother. She worked as a cook and laundry person. She suffered hair loss and started using a product, became a sales agent and after one year as an agent she launched her own product, Madame’s Walker Wonderful Hair Grower with $1.25! It was a network marketing company! I love this because most people have a negative outlook on network marketing, but it is one of the BEST ways new entrepreneurs can get started! We must learn how to follow before we can successfully lead. Her companies eventually employed over 40,000 African American women and men in the United States, Caribbean, and Central America. 

Born: December 23, 1867, Delta, LA

Died: May 25, 1919, Irvington, NY
Net worth: $10,000,000

To read more about Madame C.J.Walker: 

Madame C.J. Walker Biography

 Madam C.J. Walker Women’s National History Museum

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