Madam C. J. Walker

After watching the Netflix series self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker, I knew I had to research and write about this woman. Born in December 23rd 1867 with the name of Sarah Breedlove, she was born close to the village of Delta, Louisiana to Owen and Minerva (Anderson) Breedlove. Sarah had five siblings. Sadly her older sister and four brothers were enslaved, making her the first child in the family who was born under the freedom since it was the time the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Unfortunately, she was orphaned at the age of seven. Then at the age of ten, she moved to Mississippi to live with her older sister, Louvenia, and brother-in-law. Having very little formal education, she had no choice but to work as a domestic servant at a pretty young age. When she was fourteen, she got married to her first husband to escape the abuse of her brother-law.

From that marriage, her only daughter was born. She got remarried twice more her last husband being Charles Joseph Walker making her madam C. J. Walker. In 1888 she and her daughter A’Lelia Walker moved to Missouri where three of her brothers lived. Here Sarah found work as a laundress where she didn’t earn much, but she was determined to give her daughter an education.

Everything started when like many more black women of that period Sarah began balding. Due to the harsh products they used of their heads which caused dandruff and other scalp issues. Her brothers, who were barbers, were who Sarah began to learn about hair care.

She then went on to become a selling agent for Annie Malone, who was an entrepreneur with hair-care products for African-American. While continuing to Annie, Sarah developed her own hair-care line. Which lead her to open her own company and later on a chain of salons. She then went on to become the first self-made millionaire in America according to the Guinness Book of World.

Madam C.J. Walker: America's First Female Self-Made Millionaire



11 thoughts on “Madam C. J. Walker

  1. I’ve seen that on netflix and wondered what it was about. It sounds like a great story. I’m reading ‘Beloved’ at the moment, a story of slavery. It’s heartbreaking

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to work right by the Madame CJ Walker Theatre in Indianapolis. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) was responsible for removing her neighborhood from the map. I learned a lot about her while I was working on campus–84–to 89. Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

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