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Honouring Madam CJ Walker

PIONEER: Madam CJ Walker

1. MADAM C.J Walker’s real name was Sarah Breedlove.

2. She was the first African American millionaire.

3. Madam C.J. Walker was born on December 23, 1867 in Delta, Louisiana to Owen and Minerva Breedlove, who were former slaves. Her parents were slaves on Robert W. Burney’s Madison Parish farm, a battle-staging area during the Civil.

4. In her early 20s, Madam Walker moved to St. Louis and became a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

5. By the time she was in her late thirties, Madam Walker was dealing with hair loss because of a combination of stress and damaging hair care products. After experimenting with different methods, she developed a formula of her own that caused her hair to grow again quickly. She then began to prepare her formula at home, selling it to friends and family and marketing it door to door.

6. Walker used her success to help other African-Americans, through founding scholarships for black students, donating money to different African-American institutions and lobbying politicians for civil rights.

7. In 1908 Madam Walker opened Lelia College to train “hair culturists. The purpose of the school was to teach young Black women hairstylist skills.

8. There are two National historic Landmarks dedicated to Madam Walker. The Villa Lewaro, which is located in Irvington, New York, and the Madam Walker Theater Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana.

9. Madam Walker’s only daughter, Lelia (later known as A’Lelia Walker) was born on June 6, 1885. She inherited her mother’s hair care and beauty empire, the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.

10. Walker died May 25 1919, at 51 years old from hypertension. Renowned African American educator Mary McLeod Bethune delivered the eulogy.

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