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In Pics: How Madam C.J. Walker: America’s First Self-Made Female Millionaire Changed Things For People Of Colour

A radically generous woman, who was active on multiple fronts for the African American community

Madam C.J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker

An accidental find on Netflix, “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” opened to me the world of the legend Madam C.J. Walker. It is incredibly sad that to date, people of colour who manage to make the impossible possible remain a footnote in mainstream history.

As I watched this miniseries, I couldn’t stop myself from becoming a fan, be it of her “nothing is impossible” attitude or her altruism towards her community.

She was a radically generous woman, who was active on multiple fronts for the African American community.

Madam C.J. Walker

Early Life 

Born in December 1867 to former slaves Owen and Minerva Breedlove as Sarah Breedlove, she was the first child of her family to be born after the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Orphaned at seven, married at fourteen, and widowed at twenty with a daughter, Sarah’s life was far from an easy one.

St. Louis In Missouri

After the death of her first husband, she moved to St. Louis in Missouri, where she worked as a washerwoman. It was during this time when she tried various commercial hairdressings and began experimenting with her formula to cure scalp infections that cause baldness.  

Balding amongst African American women was common during this time as they lacked indoor plumbing and could not wash their hair frequently. 

The Humble Beginning

Madam Walker started working as a sales agent for Annie Turbo, the founder of the Poro Company, before moving to Denver.

Madam Walker Started Working As A Sales Agent For The Poro Company

In Denver, she worked as a cook for a pharmacist, where she learned basic chemistry to improve her products, including her ointment that healed dandruff. 

In 1906 she married Charles Joseph Walker and began achieving local success with her products, which came to be known as the “Walker Method” or the “Walker System of Beauty Culture.”

Walker System of Beauty Culture

She continued to develop her business providing career opportunities and economic independence for thousands of African American women who otherwise would have been consigned to menial jobs as maids, cooks, laundresses, and farmhands. 

In 1913 she expanded internationally when she visited the Caribbean and Central America. By 1919 she had claimed 25,000 active Walker sales agents.


Also Read: Netflix’s Bridgerton Breaks Norm By Showing Black People In Lead Characters Of Period Dramas


The Legacy Of Madam C.J. Walker 

Madam Walker’s attorney and confidante, Freeman B. Ransom, called the Walker Company a “race company,” which meant it was founded by African Americans for the betterment of their community as they fought against racial discrimination.

The Legacy Of Madam C.J. Walker
The Legacy Of Madam C.J. Walker
The Legacy Of Madam C.J. Walker
The Legacy Of Madam C.J. Walker
The Legacy Of Madam C.J. Walker
The Legacy Of Madam C.J. Walker

Did you know about the story of legendary Madam C.J. Walker? Have you watched Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker?”

Let us know your opinion in the comment section. 


Image Sources: Google Images

Sources: Madam Walker Legacy Center, National Museum Of American History, Indiana Historical Society 

Find The Blogger: @darshanaaaac

This post is tagged under: Netflix, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker, Madam C.J. Walker, People Of Colour, History, African American Community, Former Slaves, Slavery In America, Abolition Of Slavery, Abolition Of Slavery In America, Emancipation Proclamation, Who Are Parents Of Madam C.J. Walker, Parents Of C.J. Walker, Owen Breedlove, Minerva Breedlove, Sarah Breedlove, Born After The Emancipation Proclamation, Who Signed The Emancipation Proclamation?, President Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, President Abraham Lincoln, When Was The Emancipation Proclamation Issued? When Was Slavery Abolished In America?, Jim Crow Laws, What Are Jim Crow Laws?, Racial Segregation, Netflix Series, Netflix Miniseries, St. Louis, Missouri, Baldness, Scalp Infections, Infrequent Hair Washing, No Time For Self Care, No Indoor Plumbing, Sales Agent, Annie Turbo, Hair Care, Self Care, Poro Company, Who Founded the Port Company?, Who Was Annie Turbo?, Pharmacist, Pharmacy, Denver, Dandruff, Basic Chemistry, Walker Method, Walker System of Beauty Culture, What Was the Walker Method?, Career Opportunities, Economic Independence, African American Women, Women Of Colour, Caribbean, Central America, Walker Sales Agents, Sales Agents, Walker Agents, Freeman B. Ransom, Fought Against Racial Discrimination, Charles Joseph Walker, Walker Network Of Beauty Schools, NAACP, NAACP’s Anti-Lynching Movement, Anti Lynching, National Association For The Advancement Of Coloured People, Emancipation, Empowerment, Court Cases, Monetary Donations, Political Lobbying, Race Company, Fought Against Racial Discrimination, Betterment Of Community, Black, POC, Period Dramas, White Supremacy, Romance, Historical Accuracy, Race Bending, Blind Casting, Own Voices, Bridgerton, Hamilton, Shonda Rhimes, Downtown Abbey, Racial Discrimination, Colonialism, Oppression, Minority, Menial Labour, Menial Tasks, Menial Task, Menial Jobs, Labour, Bonded Labourer, Labourer, Market, Free Market, Slave Market, Farms, Farm, Farmers, Farmer, Maids, Cooks, Laundresses, Farmhands, Washermen, Washerwomen, Cook, Chef, Race Company, Race, Racial Discrimination, Racial Segregation


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