Hi Dolls and Gents,
Ok so since I started my Healthy Relaxed Hair Journey (yesterday Feb. 1 2013) I felt it was only right that I go ahead and pay homage to the woman who started it all. I have chosen to go on my Hair Journey using a Relaxer and Madam Walker Invented it. Also February IS Black History Month Why not do an Educational post celebrating black history and remaining on the topic of hair.
In the fifth grade we had to do history reports on a famous African American, I remembered choosing Madam CJ Walker name off of the list because I did not know much about her. I was happy that I chose her, and every since then I find myself going back from time to time and reading about her. I think given the era that she lived in, to be able to create products so relevant is amazing. This is why I am choosing to share some information about her.
|MADAM CJ WALKER|
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,
"There is no royal flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it for if I have accomplished anything in life it is because I have been willing to work hard."
– Madam C.J. Walker
she invented a line of African-American hair care products in 1905. She promoted her products by traveling about 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 become the first female self-made millionaire in the United States, and was rivaled only by the countless philanthropic endeavors for which she is also known.
At age 14, to escape both her oppressive working environment and the frequent mistreatment she endured at the hands of her brother-in-law, Sarah married a man named Moses McWilliams. On June 6, 1885, Sarah gave birth to a daughter, A'Leila. When Moses died two years later, Sarah and A'Lelia moved to St. Louis, where Sarah's brothers had established themselves as barbers. There, Sarah found work as a washerwoman, earning $1.50 a day—enough to send her daughter to the city's public schools. She also attended public night school whenever she could. While in St. Louis, Breedlove met her second husband Charles J. Walker, who worked in advertising and would later help promote her hair care business.
In 1907, Walker and her husband traveled around the South and Southeast promoting her products and giving lecture demonstrations of her "Walker Method"—involving her own formula for pomade, brushing and the use of heated combs.
In Indianapolis, the company not only manufactured cosmetics, but trained sales beauticians. These "Walker Agents" became well known throughout the black communities of the United States. In turn, they promoted Walker's philosophy of "cleanliness and loveliness" as a means of advancing the status of African Americans. An innovator, Walker organized clubs and conventions for her representatives, which recognized not only successful sales but also philanthropic and educational efforts among African Americans.
In 1913, Walker and Charles divorced, and she traveled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean promoting her business and recruiting others to teach her hair care methods. While her mother traveled, A'Lelia Walker helped facilitate the purchase of property in Harlem, New York, recognizing that the area would be an important base for future business operations. In 1916, upon returning from her travels, Walker moved to her new townhouse in Harlem. From there, she would continue to operate her business, while leaving the day-to-day operations of her factory in Indianapolis to its forelady.
Walker quickly immersed herself in Harlem's social and political culture. She founded philanthropies that included educational scholarships and donations to homes for the elderly, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Conference on Lynching, among other organizations focused on improving the lives of African Americans.
Walker left one-third of her estate to her daughter, A'Lelia Walker—who would also become well-known as an important part of the cultural Harlem Renaissance—and the remainder to various charities. Walker's funeral took place at her home, Villa Lewaro, in Irvington-on-Hudson, which was designated a National Historic Landmark, and she was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.
In 1927, the Walker Building, an arts center that Walker had begun work on before her death, was opened in Indianapolis. An important African American cultural center for decades, it is now a registered National Historic Landmark. In 1998, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp of Madam C.J. Walker as part of its "Black Heritage" series.
Right here let me correct the erroneous impression held by some that I claim to straighten the hair. I deplore such impression because I have always held myself out as a hair culturist. I grow hair…I want the great masses of my people to take a greater pride in their personal appearance and to give their hair proper attention.”
~ Mme. C.J. Walker