On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker by ALelia Perry BundlesOprah Winfrey is renowned for her media savvy, marketing sense, philanthropic efforts, and accumulated wealth (and the power that accompanies it). Shes earned her rep, of course, and her path to stardom and influence couldnt have been easy. Imagine, then, how difficult it must have been a century ago for Madam C. J. Walker, Americas first female African-American millionaire. The daughter of slaves, married and divorced by the age of 20, Madam Walker spent nearly two decades as a lowly scrubwoman before concocting (or, as she claimed, being presented in a dream) the formula for a much needed hair care product for African-American women. After making her hair care business a resounding success, Walker devoted much of her time and resources to social causes and philanthropy.
In On Her Own Ground, ALelia Bundles, Walkers great-great-grandaughter and a woman of no small accomplishment herself (shes spent many years as a television news producer for NBC and ABC), offers an affectionate but unblinking portrait of Madam Walker. (Bundles mother urged her daughter from her deathbed not to worry about promoting a particular image of their famous forebear, to simply tell the truth.) Bundles also explores the complicated relationship between Madam Walker and her only slightly less renowned daughter (and the authors namesake), ALelia Walker, a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, and the elder Walkers interactions with such other seminal African-American figures as W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington.
WE CELEBRATE OUR EDGES AND THE WOMAN BEHIND THEM – MADAM C.J. WALKER
Madam C. Walker embodies the quintessential American success story, as someone who fought seemingly insurmountable odds to become one of the 20th century's most successful self-made woman entrepreneurs. The daughter of former slaves, Walker built a cosmetics empire selling hair care and beauty products for African-American women.
A'Lelia Perry Bundles
Madam C. J. Walker
From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations…. I have built my own factory on my own ground. Madam C. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in , the first child in her family born into freedom after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Her parents and five older siblings were slaves on a plantation in Louisiana.
Madam C. Walker Founder of Madam C. Walker Manufacturing Co.
As a manufacturer of hair care products for African American women, Madame C. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, became one of the first American women millionaires. Madame C. Walker, named Sarah Breedlove at birth, was born December 23, , in Delta, Louisiana, to Owen and Minerva Breedlove, both of whom were emancipated freed slaves and worked on a cotton plantation. At the age of six Sarah's parents died after the area was struck by yellow fever, a deadly disease oftentimes spread by mosquitoes. The young girl then moved to Vicksburg to live with her sister Louvinia and to work as a housemaid. She worked hard from the time she was very young, was extremely poor, and had little opportunity to get an education.
Walker , was an African-American entrepreneur , philanthropist , and a political and social activist. Walker was considered the wealthiest African-American businesseswoman and wealthiest self-made woman in America at the time of her death in Walker made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of cosmetics and hair care products for black women through the business she founded, Madam C. Walker Manufacturing Company. Born in a village in Louisiana, she moved North to develop her business. She became known also for her philanthropy and activism. She made financial donations to numerous organizations and became a patron of the arts.