Madam C.J. Walker
Civil Rights Activist, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur (1867–1919) Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, created specialised hair products for African-American hair and was one of the ﬁrst American women to become a self-made millionaire.
Madam C.J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, near Delta, Louisiana.
After suﬀering from a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss, she invented a line of African-American hair care products in 1905. She promoted her products by travelling around the country giving lecture-demonstrations and eventually established Madame C.J. Walker Laboratories to manufacture cosmetics and train sales beauticians.
Her savvy business acumen led her to be one of the ﬁrst American women to become a self-made millionaire. She was also known for her philanthropic endeavours including donating the largest amount of money by an African-American toward the construction of an Indianapolis YMCA in 1913.
Madam C.J. Walker died of hypertension on May 25, 1919, at age 51, at the estate home she had built for herself in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York. At the time of her death, Walker was sole owner of her business, which was valued at more than $1 million. Her personal fortune was estimated at between $600,000 and $700,000.
Today, Walker is widely credited as one of the ﬁrst American women to become a self-made millionaire.
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