Madam C.J. Walker
Name: Madam C.J. Walker
Occupation: Entrepreneur
Gender: Female
Birth Day: December 23, 1867
Death Date: May 25, 1919 (age 51)
Age: Aged 51
Birth Place: Delta, United States
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

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Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker was born on December 23, 1867 in Delta, United States (51 years old). Madam C.J. Walker is an Entrepreneur, zodiac sign: Capricorn. Nationality: United States. Approx. Net Worth: Undisclosed.


Her efforts to improve hair care for African-American women helped her to become a millionaire and were motivated by her own hair loss.

Net Worth 2020

Find out more about Madam C.J. Walker net worth here.

Does Madam C.J. Walker Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Madam C.J. Walker died on May 25, 1919 (age 51).


Height Weight Hair Colour Eye Colour Blood Type Tattoo(s)

Before Fame

She was a member of St. Paul AME Church.


Biography Timeline


Sarah Breedlove was born on December 23, 1867, close to Delta, Louisiana, to Owen and Minerva (Anderson) Breedlove. She was one of six children, who included an older sister, Louvenia, and four brothers: Alexander, James, Solomon, and Owen Jr. Her older siblings were enslaved by Robert W. Burney on his Madison Parish plantation. Sarah was the first child in her family born into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Her mother died in 1872, likely from cholera (an epidemic traveled with river passengers up the Mississippi, reaching Tennessee and related areas in 1873). Her father remarried but died a year later.


In 1882, at the age of 14, Sarah married Moses McWilliams to escape abuse from her brother-in-law, Jesse Powell. Sarah and Moses had one daughter, A'Lelia, born on June 6, 1885. When Moses died in 1887, Sarah was twenty and A'Lelia was two. Sarah remarried in 1894, but left her second husband, John Davis, around 1903.


In 1888, Madam C. J. Walker and her daughter moved to St. Louis, where three of her brothers lived. Sarah found work as a laundress, earning barely more than a dollar a day. She was determined to make enough money to provide her daughter with a formal education. During the 1880s, she lived in a community where Ragtime music was developed; she sang at the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church and started to yearn for an educated life as she watched the community of women at her church.


While working for Malone, who would later become Walker's largest rival in the hair-care industry, Sarah began to take her new knowledge and develop her own product line. In July 1905, when she was 37 years old, Sarah and her daughter moved to Denver, Colorado, where she continued to sell products for Malone and develop her own hair-care business. A controversy developed between Annie Malone and Sarah because Malone accused Sarah of stealing her formula, a mixture of petroleum jelly and sulfur that had been in use for a hundred years.


In January 1906, Sarah married Charles Joseph Walker, a newspaper advertising salesman she had known in St. Louis, Missouri. Through this marriage, she became known as Madam C. J. Walker. The couple divorced in 1912; Charles died in 1926. A'Lelia McWilliams adopted her stepfather's surname and became known as A'Lelia Walker.

Following her marriage to Charles Walker in 1906, Sarah became known as Madam C. J. Walker. She marketed herself as an independent hairdresser and retailer of cosmetic creams. ("Madam" was adopted from women pioneers of the French beauty industry.) Her husband, who was also her business partner, provided advice on advertising and promotion; Sarah sold her products door to door, teaching other black women how to groom and style their hair.

In 1906, Walker put her daughter in charge of the mail-order operation in Denver while she and her husband traveled throughout the southern and eastern United States to expand the business. In 1908, Walker and her husband relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they opened a beauty parlor and established Lelia College to train "hair culturists." As an advocate of black women's economic independence, she opened training programs in the "Walker System" for her national network of licensed sales agents who earned healthy commissions (Michaels, PhD. 2015).


After Walker closed the business in Denver in 1907, A'lelia ran the day-to-day operations from Pittsburgh. In 1910, Walker established a new base in Indianapolis. A'lelia also persuaded her mother to establish an office and beauty salon in New York City's growing Harlem neighborhood in 1913; it became a center of African-American culture.


In 1910, Walker relocated her businesses to Indianapolis, where she established the headquarters for the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. She initially purchased a house and factory at 640 North West Street. Walker later built a factory, hair salon, and beauty school to train her sales agents, and added a laboratory to help with research. She also assembled a staff that included Freeman Ransom, Robert Lee Brokenburr, Alice Kelly, and Marjorie Joyner, among others, to assist in managing the growing company. Many of her company's employees, including those in key management and staff positions, were women.


Between 1911 and 1919, during the height of her career, Walker and her company employed several thousand women as sales agents for its products. By 1917, the company claimed to have trained nearly 20,000 women. Dressed in a characteristic uniform of white shirts and black skirts and carrying black satchels, they visited houses around the United States and in the Caribbean offering Walker's hair pomade and other products packaged in tin containers carrying her image. Walker understood the power of advertising and brand awareness. Heavy advertising, primarily in African-American newspapers and magazines, in addition to Walker's frequent travels to promote her products, helped make Walker and her products well known in the United States.


As Walker's wealth and notoriety increased, she became more vocal about her views. In 1912, Walker addressed an annual gathering of the National Negro Business League (NNBL) from the convention floor, where she declared: "I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. 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." The following year she addressed convention-goers from the podium as a keynote speaker.


About 1913, Walker's daughter, A'Lelia, moved to a new townhouse in Harlem, and in 1916, Walker joined her in New York, leaving the day-to-day operation of her company to her management team in Indianapolis. In 1917, Walker commissioned Vertner Tandy, the first licensed black architect in New York City and a founding member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, to design her house in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York. Walker intended for Villa Lewaro, which cost $250,000 to build, to become a gathering place for community leaders and to inspire other African Americans to pursue their dreams. She moved into the house in May 1918 and hosted an opening event to honor Emmett Jay Scott, at that time the Assistant Secretary for Negro Affairs of the U.S. Department of War.


In addition to training in sales and grooming, Walker showed other black women how to budget, build their own businesses, and encouraged them to become financially independent. In 1917, inspired by the model of the National Association of Colored Women, Walker began organizing her sales agents into state and local clubs. The result was the establishment of the National Beauty Culturists and Benevolent Association of Madam C. J. Walker Agents (predecessor to the Madam C. J. Walker Beauty Culturists Union of America).

Walker became more involved in political matters after her move to New York. She delivered lectures on political, economic, and social issues at conventions sponsored by powerful black institutions. Her friends and associates included Booker T. Washington, Mary McLeod Bethune, and W. E. B. Du Bois. During World War I, Walker was a leader in the Circle For Negro War Relief and advocated for the establishment of a training camp for black army officers. In 1917, she joined the executive committee of New York chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which organized the Silent Protest Parade on New York City's Fifth Avenue. The public demonstration drew more than 8,000 African Americans to protest a riot in East Saint Louis that killed 39 African-Americans.


Profits from her business significantly impacted Walker's contributions to her political and philanthropic interests. In 1918, the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (NACWC) honored Walker for making the largest individual contribution to help preserve Frederick Douglass's Anacostia house. Before her death in 1919, Walker pledged $5,000 (the equivalent of about $77,700 in 2019) to the NAACP's anti-lynching fund. At the time, it was the largest gift from an individual that the NAACP had ever received. Walker bequeathed nearly $100,000 to orphanages, institutions, and individuals; her will directed two-thirds of future net profits of her estate to charity.


Walker died on May 25, 1919, from kidney failure and complications of hypertension, at the age of 51. Walker's remains are interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York City.


Indianapolis's Walker Manufacturing Company headquarters building, renamed the Madame Walker Theatre Center, opened in December 1927. It included the company's offices and factory as well as a theater, beauty school, hair salon and barbershop, restaurant, drugstore, and a ballroom for the community. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.


Walker's personal papers are preserved at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis. Her legacy also continues through two properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Villa Lewaro in Irvington, New York, and the Madame Walker Theatre Center in Indianapolis. Villa Lewaro was sold following A'Lelia Walker's death to a fraternal organization called the Companions of the Forest in America in 1932. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has designated the privately owned property a National Treasure.


Walker was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1993. In 1998, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Madam Walker commemorative stamp as part of its Black Heritage Series.


In 2006, playwright and director Regina Taylor wrote The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove, recounting the history of Walker's struggles and success. The play premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Actress L. Scott Caldwell played the role of Walker.


On March 4, 2016, Sundial Brands, a skincare and haircare company, launched a collaboration with Sephora in honor of Walker's legacy. The line, titled "Madam C. J. Walker Beauty Culture", comprised four collections and focused on the use of natural ingredients to care for different types of hair.


In 2020, actress Octavia Spencer committed to portray Walker in a TV series based on the biography of Walker by A'Lelia Bundles, Walker's great-great-granddaughter. The series is called Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker. Reviews for the documentary were mixed because of the inaccuracies of the storyline that created more of a fictional work than an authentic biography. The portrayal of Annie Malone as Addie Monroe, another black female self-made millionaire as a villain and the daughter of Walker as a lesbian were some of the complaints by audiences.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Madam C.J. Walker is 153 years, 7 months and 13 days old. Madam C.J. Walker will celebrate 154th birthday on a Thursday 23rd of December 2021.

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