Profiles in Black History: Madam C.J. Walker


Tylene Scott, Staff Reporter

Sarah Breedlove, more commonly known as  Madam C.J. Walker, was an African American entrepreneur and political/social activist. By the time she passed, she was the wealthiest self-made black woman in the United States. Walker developed cosmetic and hair products for black women which played a big part in her wealth her company was called Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.

Walker was a philanthropist (someone who donates their wealth to help support the welfare of other people). One of the main organizations she supported was the NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: a civil rights organization in the United States that has long fought for equal rights and treatment for Black people) . 

Walker was born December 23, 1867, in Delta, Louisiana. Walker was the first kid in her family that was born into freedom and was an orphan at the age of seven but at the age of ten, she moved to be with her older sister. She had her daughter A’Lelia at the age of eighteen.

An interesting fact about Walker is that she was the first Black woman to be a millionaire in America due to her hair care products that were centered towards the haircare of other black women and children. The city of Indianapolis is where she decided to establish her business headquarters in 1910.

Walker passed May 25, 1919, at the age of 51 in Irving, New York but her effect on hair care will always be known by those of the Black community. Even in some stores today you might catch a glimpse of a hair product with her name across the label.