28 Days of Black History Month (February 5th)
Madam CJ Walker was a pioneer on many levels. She was born in 1867 in Delta, Louisiana as Sarah Breedlove. Madam CJ Walker is renowned as becoming the 1st self made Female Millionaire in America. Not just African American Woman, but All American Women. Of course there were plenty of wealthy women in America at that time but they either inherited their wealth or married a wealthy man. Madam CJ Walker (her newly adopted name was actually her husbands name (Charles Joseph Walker) was an Amazing Woman, She created hair care products for primarily African American women. However, anyone could use her products. Her rise to fortune was inspiring, she trail blazed a path and business model that many companies of today still use. Such as training her employees to sell her products and would receive a commission for each sale (Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware). At her peak she employed over 2,000 men and women in her factory in Indianoplis, Indiana.
She was also a Caring and giving Philanthropist, not only giving money but her time as well. In 1916 she moved to New York State where she built an Glorious estate in the ultra exclusive neighborhood of Irvington-On-Hudson. With the Vanderbilt & Rockefeller families as neighbors. Her estate was built from ground up costing roughly $250,000 ($5.5mil in today’s money) Designed by the 1st Registered African American Architect in New York State Vertner Woodson Tandy. Madam CJ Walker was such a giving woman that she left 2/3 of her will to charity. She passed away at a relatively young age of 51 due to Hypertension. At the time of her death she was estimated being worth slightly over $1 Million dollars making her the wealthiest black women in American over 100 years before Oprah.
Editor’s Note: Just imagine building a business in the late 1900’s as a African American Women who was born only 2 years after slavery was abolished. She dealt with racism, sex-ism, class-ism you name it never stopped her and to that we say Thank You!