Black History Month: Madame CJ Walker

Brittani Langland

By Rebecca Wen

Sarah Breedlove Walker was the first African-American female millionaire. Her hair products turned dull, frizzy hair into shiny, smooth locks. Walker sold her products door to door and soon achieved success.

She was the daughter of slaves and became orphaned at six-years-old. With no education, Walker and her sister worked as maids. She then married at 14 in order to escape from her sister’s abusive husband. Only a few years later, Walker was left a widow with a young daughter.

After experimenting in her bathtub with shampoos, kitchen tools, and ointments, Walker started a flourishing business and changed her name to Madame CJ Walker. When she died, Walker left money to various organizations and orphanages, including the NAACP. Her daughter A’Lelia Walker took over the Walker Company.