The Original Empire: Madam C.J. Walker

During the holiday season we also celebrate the birthdate of one of America’s first self-made millionaires. Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, was born on December 23, 1867 on a cotton plantation in Louisiana. As the daughter of recently freed slaves, Walker used her own scalp ailment as an impetus to invent a line of hair care products specifically tailored to our needs. Through cross-country tours and lectures, Walker showcased her product and brand to the masses, accumulating massive wealth over her lifetime. This wealth was shared through various philanthropic efforts, including helping to establish the Indianapolis YMCA in 1913. Walker’s legacy continues today and has set the foundation for the plethora of African-American owned hair products today.

Learn more about her life and work here.