Madam C. J. Walker

Last updated

Madam C. J. Walker
Madam CJ Walker face circa 1914.jpg
Walker in 1912
Sarah Breedlove

(1867-12-23)December 23, 1867
Delta, Louisiana, United States
DiedMay 25, 1919(1919-05-25) (aged 51)
Resting place Woodlawn Cemetery, New York, United States
Occupation Businessperson, hair care entrepreneur,
philanthropist, and activist
Known forFounder of Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company
Net worth$10,000,000 [1]
Spouse(s)Moses McWilliams (married 1882–1887)
John Davis (married 1894–c. 1903)
Charles Joseph Walker (married 1906–1912)
Children A'Lelia Walker
Madam Walker and several friends in her automobile MadameCJWalkerdrivingautomoblie.png
Madam Walker and several friends in her automobile
C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1911 Madam CJ Walker Manufacturing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana (1911).jpg
C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1911

Sarah Breedlove (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919), known as Madam C. J. Walker, was an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist. Walker was considered the wealthiest African-American businesseswoman and wealthiest self-made woman in America at the time of her death in 1919. [2]


Walker made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of cosmetics and hair care products for black women through the business she founded, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. Born in a village in Louisiana, she moved North to develop her business.

She became known also for her philanthropy and activism. She made financial donations to numerous organizations and became a patron of the arts. Villa Lewaro, Walker's lavish estate in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, served as a social gathering place for the African-American community.

Although she was eulogized as the first female self-made millionaire in the US, [3] her estate was worth an estimated $600,000 upon her death (equivalent to $8.8 million in 2019). [1] According to Walker's obituary in The New York Times , "she said herself two years ago [in 1917] that she was not yet a millionaire, but hoped to be some time".

Her name, Madam C. J. Walker, came as a result of her marriage to Charles Joseph Walker, who died in 1926.

Early life

Breedlove was born on December 23, 1867, close to Delta, Louisiana, to Owen and Minerva (Anderson) Breedlove. [4] [5] Sarah was one of six children, who included an older sister, Louvenia, and four brothers: Alexander, James, Solomon, and Owen Jr. Breedlove's parents and 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 he died a year later. [6]

Orphaned at the age of seven, Sarah moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi, at the age of 10, where she lived with her older sister, Louvenia, and brother-in-law, Jesse Powell. Sarah started working as a child as a domestic servant. [4] [7] “I had little or no opportunity when I started out in life, having been left an orphan and being without mother or father since I was seven years of age,” she often recounted. She also recounted that she had only three months of formal education, which she learned during Sunday school literacy lessons at the church she attended during her earlier years. [8]

Marriage and family

In 1882, at the age of 14, Sarah married Moses McWilliams, to escape abuse from her brother-in-law, Jesse Powell. [4] Sarah and Moses had one daughter, A'Lelia Walker, born on June 6, 1885. When Moses died in 1887, Sarah was twenty and A'Lelia was two years old. [7] [9] Sarah remarried in 1894, but left her second husband, John Davis, around 1903. She moved to Denver, Colorado, in 1905, an early migrant from the South to the West. [10] [11]

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. [7] [12] [13]


In 1888, Sarah McWilliams and her daughter moved to St. Louis, Missouri, 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. [14] [6]

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. [1]

As was common among black women of her era, Sarah suffered severe dandruff and other scalp ailments, including baldness, due to skin disorders and the application of harsh products such as lye, that were included in soaps to cleanse hair and wash clothes. Other contributing factors to her hair loss included poor diet, illnesses, and infrequent bathing and hair washing during a time when most Americans lacked indoor plumbing, central heating and electricity. [13] [15] [16]

Madam C. J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower in the permanent collection of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis - Madame C.J. Walkers Wonderful Hair Grower.jpg
Madam C. J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower in the permanent collection of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

Initially, Sarah learned about hair care from her brothers, who were barbers in St. Louis. [15] Around the time of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (World's Fair at St. Louis in 1904), she became a commission agent selling products for Annie Malone, an African-American hair-care entrepreneur, millionaire, and owner of the Poro Company. [4] Sales at the exposition were a disappointment since the African-American community was largely ignored. [18] While working for Malone, who would later become Walker's largest rival in the hair-care industry, [1] Sarah began to take her new knowledge and develop her own product line. [12]

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. The mixture of petroleum jelly and sulfur which they used had been in use for a hundred years. [18]

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. [19] ) 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. [7] [12] 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. [14] [15] [16] [20] 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 commission (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. [21] 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. [19]

In 1910, Walker relocated her business 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. [22] Walker later built a factory, hair salon, and beauty school to train her sales agents, and added a laboratory to help with research. [16] She also assembled a competent staff that included Freeman Ransom, Robert Lee Brokenburr, Alice Kelly, and Marjorie Joyner, among others, to assist in managing the growing company. [12] Many of her company's employees, including those in key management and staff positions, were women. [19]

To increase her company's sales force, Walker trained other women to become "beauty culturists" using "The Walker System", her method of grooming that was designed to promote hair growth and to condition the scalp through the use of her products. [12] Walker's system included a shampoo, a pomade stated to help hair grow, strenuous brushing, and applying iron combs to hair. This method claimed to make lackluster and brittle hair become soft and luxurious. [14] [15] Walker's product line had several competitors. Similar products were produced in Europe and manufactured by other companies in the United States, which included her major rivals, Annie Turnbo Malone's Poro System from which she derived her original formula and later, Sarah Spencer Washington's Apex System. [23]

Between 1911 and 1919, during the height of her career, Walker and her company employed several thousand women as sales agents for its products. [7] By 1917 the company claimed to have trained nearly 20,000 women. [22] 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.

Walker's name became even more widely known by the 1920s, after her death, as her company's business market expanded beyond the United States to Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Panama, and Costa Rica. [14] [15] [19] [23]

Walker owned several cars including a Ford Model T and a Waverly, an electric car manufactured in Indianapolis not far from her home. She had a full-time chauffeur but preferred driving the Waverly for personal excursions. They were marketed to women—especially wealthy women as a more elegant alternative to noisier gasoline-powered automobiles.

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). [7] Its first annual conference convened in Philadelphia during the summer of 1917 with 200 attendees. The conference is believed to have been among the first national gatherings of women entrepreneurs to discuss business and commerce. [13] [14] During the convention Walker gave prizes to women who had sold the most products and brought in the most new sales agents. She also rewarded those who made the largest contributions to charities in their communities. [14]

Activism and philanthropy

House in Irvington Madam CJ Walker home 67 Broadway Irvington NY jeh.jpg
House in Irvington

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." [22] The following year she addressed convention-goers from the podium as a keynote speaker. [14] [15]

She helped raise funds to establish a branch of YMCA in Indianapolis's black community, pledging $1,000 to the building fund for Senate Avenue YMCA. Walker also contributed scholarship funds to the Tuskegee Institute. Other beneficiaries included Indianapolis's Flanner House and Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church; Mary McLeod Bethune's Daytona Education and Industrial School for Negro Girls (which later became Bethune-Cookman University) in Daytona Beach, Florida; the Palmer Memorial Institute in North Carolina; and the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute in Georgia. Walker was also a patron of the arts. [7] [14]

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. [5] [22] 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. [23] [24] [25] 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. [15]

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. [7] 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. [22] 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. [14]

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. [26] Before her death in 1919, Walker pledged $5,000 (the equivalent of about $72,700 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. [1] [14] [19]

The grave of Madam C. J. Walker Madam C. J. Walker Grave 2009.JPG
The grave of Madam C. J. Walker

Death and legacy

Walker died on May 25, 1919, from kidney failure and complications of hypertension, at the age of 51. [7] [22] [25] Walker's remains are interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York City. [27]

At the time of her death, Walker was considered to be the wealthiest African-American woman in America. Although she was eulogized as the first female self-made millionaire in America, her estate was worth an estimated $600,000 (about $8 million in present-day dollars) upon her death. [1] According to Walker's obituary in The New York Times , "she said herself two years ago [in 1917] that she was not yet a millionaire, but hoped to be some time." [25] At the time of Walker's death, the average American's annual salary was $750 (about $50,000 in present-day dollars). [28] Her daughter, A'Lelia Walker, became the president of the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. [15]

Walker's personal papers are preserved at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis. [13] 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. [29] [30] 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. [19] [31]

In 2006, playwright and director Regina Taylor wrote The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove, recounting the history of Walker's struggles and success. [32] The play premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. [33] Actress L. Scott Caldwell played the role of Walker. [32]

On March 4, 2016, Sundial Brands, a skincare and haircare company, launched a collaboration with Sephora in honor of Walker's legacy. The launch, 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. [34]

TV series

In 2017, 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 . [35]


Madam Walker is featured in Stanley Nelson's 1987 documentary, Two Dollars and a Dream, the first film treatment of Walker's life. As the grandson of Freeman B. Ransom, Madam Walker's attorney and Walker Company general manager, Nelson had access to original Walker business records and former Walker Company employees whom he interviewed during the 1980s. [36] Madam Walker is also featured in Bayer Mack's 2019 documentary, No Lye: An American Beauty Story, that chronicles the rise and decline of the black-owned ethnic beauty industry. [37]


Various scholarships and awards have been named in Walker's honour:

Walker was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca, New York, in 1993. [40] In 1998, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Madam Walker commemorative stamp as part of its Black Heritage Series. [22] [41]

Related Research Articles

Hot comb metal comb used for straightening coarse or moderate hair

A hot comb is a metal comb that is used to straighten moderate or coarse hair and create a smoother hair texture. A hot comb is heated and used to straighten the hair from the roots. It can be placed directly on the source of heat or it may be electrically heated.

ALelia Walker American businesswoman

A'Lelia Walker was an American businesswoman and patron of the arts. She was the only surviving child of Madam C.J. Walker, popularly credited as being the first self-made woman millionaire in the United States and one of the first African American millionaires.

Marjorie Stewart Joyner was an American businesswoman.

Indiana Avenue United States historic place

Indiana Avenue is a historic area in downtown and is one of seven designated cultural districts in Indianapolis, Indiana. Indiana Avenue was, during its glory days, an African American cultural center of the area. The Indiana Avenue Historic District within the area was designated a United States national historic district in 1987.

Annie Malone American businesswoman

Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone was an African-American businesswoman, inventor and philanthropist. She was one of the first African American women to become a millionaire. In the first three decades of the 20th century, she founded and developed a large and prominent commercial and educational enterprise centered on cosmetics for African-American women.

Afro-textured hair A hair texture

Afro-textured hair is the natural hair texture of certain populations in Africa, the African diaspora, Oceania and in some parts of South and Southeast Asia. Each strand of this hair type grows in a tiny, angle-like helix shape. The overall effect is such that, compared to straight, wavy or curly hair, afro-textured hair appears denser.

Madam Walker Legacy Center United States historic place

The Madam C. J. Walker Building, which houses the Madam Walker Legacy Center, was built in 1927 in the city of Indianapolis, in the U.S. state of Indiana, and as Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991. The four-story, multi-purpose Walker Building was named in honor of Madam C. J. Walker, the African American hair care and beauty products entrepreneur who founded the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, and designed by the Indianapolis architectural firm of Rubush & Hunter. The building served as the world headquarters for Walker's company, as well as entertainment, business, and commercial hub along Indiana Avenue for the city's African American community from the 1920s to the 1950s. The historic gathering place and venue for community events and arts and cultural programs were saved from demolition in the 1970s. The restored building, which includes African, Egyptian, and Moorish designs, is one of the few remaining African-Art Deco buildings in the United States. The Walker Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Stanley Nelson Jr. American film director

Stanley Earl Nelson Jr. is an American documentary filmmaker and a Macarthur "genius" fellow known as a director, writer and producer of documentaries examining African American history and experiences. He is a recipient of the 2013 National Humanities Medal from President Obama. He has won three Primetime Emmy Awards.

Villa Lewaro United States historic place

Villa Lewaro, formerly known as the Anne E. Poth Home, is a 34-room 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) mansion located at Fargo Lane and North Broadway in Irvington, New York, 30 miles north of New York City. It was built from 1916 to 1918, and was designed in the Italianate style by architect Vertner Tandy for Madam C. J. Walker, the first African-American female millionaire.

The phrase women in business covers the participation of women in leadership roles in commerce. Women are underrepresented and underestimated in corporate leadership, making up only 4.8% of CEOs in S&P 500 companies, despite making up 44.7% of total employees.

The Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company was a cosmetics manufacturer incorporated in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1910 by Madam C. J. Walker. It was best known for its African-American cosmetics and hair care products, and considered the most widely known and financially successful African-American owned business of the early twentieth century. The Walker Company ceased operations in July 1981.

ALelia Bundles American journalist

A'Lelia Bundles is an American journalist.

Freeman Briley Ransom (1880–1947) was born on his family's farm in Grenada, Mississippi as one of sixteen children. He became a lawyer, businessman, and civic activist practicing in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 1910 until his death he served as legal counsel to Madame C. J. Walker and the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. He is buried in West Ridge Park Cemetery in Indianapolis. Robert Brokenburr was his law partner.

Julia Pearl Hughes American businesswoman

Julia Pearl Hughes, also known as Julia P. H. Coleman or Julia Coleman-Robinson, was a pharmacist, entrepreneur, social activist, and business executive. She was the first African-American woman pharmacist to own and operate her own drug store; much later, she was the first African-American woman to run for elective office in the state of New York.

Nobia A. Franklin

Nobia A. Franklin was a Texas beautician and entrepreneur. Her business, geared towards beauty products for black women, was ranked third in the country behind Annie M. Turnbo-Malone's company and Madame C.J. Walker's "beauty empire." Her cosmetics were "meant to flatter, rather than lighten darker skin tones." Franklin's beauty products were never patented.

African-American businesses, also known as Black-owned businesses or Black businesses, originated in the days of slavery before 1865. Emancipation and civil rights permitted businessmen to operate inside the American legal structure starting in the Reconstruction Era (1863–77) and afterwards. By the 1890s, thousands of small business operations had opened in urban areas. The most rapid growth came in the early 20th century, as the increasingly rigid Jim Crow system of segregation moved urban Blacks into a community large enough to support a business establishment. The National Negro Business League—which Booker T. Washington, college president, promoted—opened over 600 chapters. It reached every city with a significant Black population.

Sarah Spencer Washington

Sara Spencer Washington was the founder of Apex News and Hair Company and was honored at the 1939 New York World's Fair as one of the "Most Distinguished Businesswomen" for her Apex empire of beauty company, schools, and products. Washington gave back to her community, whether founding a nursing home called Apex Rest in Atlantic City, New Jersey or the Apex Golf Club, one of the first African-American owned golf courses in the nation.

Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker is an upcoming American drama web television limited series, based on the biography On Her Own Ground by A'Lelia Bundles, that is set to premiere on March 20, 2020 on Netflix.

Fannie Criss was a late 19th-century and 20th-century African-American designer who specialized in hand-made dress and gowns for elite patrons in Richmond, Virginia and New York City, New York.

Lucille Campbell Green Randolph

Lucille Campbell Green Randolph (1883–1963) was an early graduate of Madam C. J. Walker's Lelia Beauty College, opening and running a successful salon in New York City. She was married to the civil rights activist A. Philip Randolph and was able to finance his newspaper "The Messenger".


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Madam C. J. Walker". The Philanthropy Hall of Fame. Philanthropy Roundtable.
  2. Glaeser, Edward (2011), Triumph of the City: How Our Best Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, New York: Penguin Press, p. 75, ISBN   978-1-59420-277-3
  3. Latson, Jennifer (December 23, 2014). "How America's First Self-Made Female Millionaire Built Her Fortune". Time . Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Bundles, "Madam C J (Sarah Breedlove) Walker, 1867–1919" in Black Women in America, v. II, p. 1209.
  5. 1 2 Bundles, A'Lelia. "Madam C.J. Walker". Madame C. J. Walker. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  6. 1 2 "Madam C. J. Walker Biography". . A&E Networks.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Madam C. J. Walker". Indiana Historical Society.
  8. Bundles, A. (2001). On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker. New York, NY: Scribner.
  9. Bundles, A'Lelia (2014). "Biography of Madam C. J. Walker". National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Oakland/Bay Area Chapter. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  10. Gugin, Linda C.; James E. St. Clair (2015). Indiana's 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. p. 360. ISBN   978-0-87195-387-2.
  11. "The Philanthropy Hall of Fame: Madam C. J. Walker". Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 Bundles, "Madam C J (Sarah Breedlove) Walker, 1867–1919" in Black Women in America, v. II, pp. 1210–11.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Riquier, Andrea (February 24, 2015). "Madam Walker Went from Laundress to Success". Investor's Business Daily. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Bundles, A'Lelia (February 2012). "Madam C. J. Walker: Business Savvy to Philanthropy" (PDF). eJournal USA. United States Department of State. 16 (6): 3–5.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Bundles, A'Lelia (2001). On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker. New York: Scribner. ISBN   978-0-7434-3172-9.
  16. 1 2 3 Ingham, John N. (February 2000). "Walker, Madam C. J." American National Biography Online. doi:10.1093/anb/9780198606697.001.0001 (inactive January 22, 2020). Retrieved February 14, 2019.Cite journal requires |journal= (help) (subscription required)
  17. "Madam C.J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower product container". The Indianapolis Public Library. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  18. 1 2 Oatman-Stanford, Hunter (August 31, 2015). "The Sharecropper's Daughter Who Made Black Women Proud of Their Hair". Collectors Weekly .
  19. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Bundles, A'Lelia (February 24, 2015). "Madam C. J. Walker's Secrets to Success".
  20. Evans, Harold; Buckland, Gail; Lefer, David (2004). They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of Innovators. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN   9780316277662.
  21. Koehn, Nancy F.; Anne E. Dwojeski; William Grundy; Erica Helms; Katherine Miller (2007). Madam C. J. Walker: Entrepreneur, Leader, and Philanthropist. 9-807-145. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing. p. 12. OCLC   154317207.
  22. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Gugin and Saint Clair, p. 361.
  23. 1 2 3 "Madame C. J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove McWilliams Walker): Inventor, Businesswoman". University of California, Irvine.
  24. Bundles, "Madam C J (Sarah Breedlove) Walker, 1867–1919" in Black Women in America, v. II, p. 1213.
  25. 1 2 3 "Wealthiest Negress Dead" . The New York Times. May 16, 1919.
  26. Bundles, "Madam C J (Sarah Breedlove) Walker, 1867–1919" in Black Women in America, v. II, p. 1212.
  27. "Woodlawn Cemetery–Madam Walker's Burial Place–Named National Historic Landmark". Madam C. J. Walker website.
  28. Baer, Meryl (September 26, 2017), "The History of American Income", Bizfluent.
  29. Pumphrey, Jessica (October 24, 2014). "Sign the Pledge to Protect Villa Lewaro – And Learn How You Can Tour It". National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  30. Leggs, Brent (2014). "Envisioning Villa Lewaro's Future" (PDF). National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  31. "National Register Digital Assets: Madame C. J. Walker Building". National Park Service.
  32. 1 2 "Regina Taylor Brings the Story of Madam C. J. Walker to the Stage", Jet , July 10, 2006: 62–3. ProQuest, March 6, 2016.
  33. "The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove". Goodman Theatre.
  34. "Sundial Brands Enters Prestige Hair Category with Historic Launch of Madam C. J. Walker Beauty Culture Exclusively at Sephora". PR Newswire, February 23, 2016. ProQuest, March 6, 2016.
  35. Lanert, Raquel (February 18, 2017) "Manse built by America's first self-made millionairess in jeopardy", New York Post .
  36. "Two Dollars and a Dream". February 21, 1988. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  38. "17th Annual Madam C. J. Walker 2015 Luncheon". National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Oakland/Bay Area Chapter. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  39. "About the Spirit Awards". Madame Walker Theatre Center. 2016. Archived from the original on February 20, 2016. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  40. "Madam C. J. Walker". National Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  41. US Stamp Gallery

Further reading

Nonfiction biographies

(based on primary source documents)