March 8, 2020 –
Deborah Asante tells the story of Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919) who was lauded as “the first black woman millionaire in America” for her successful line of hair care products. Born Sarah Breedlove in Louisiana, she was widowed by age 20 and took work as a laundress. After seeking treatment for hair loss, she developed “The Walker System” and sold her homemade products directly to black women. Talented in the art of self-promotion, she built a booming national enterprise. In 1910, she moved her headquarters to Indianapolis, where the company eventually claimed to have trained 20,000 workers, mostly door-to-door saleswomen. Madam Walker also funded scholarships for women and donated large sums to the NAACP, the black YMCA and dozens of other charities.
This story is tied to "You Are There 1915: Madam C.J. Walker" at Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center that opened on September 21, 2019. More details on this story will be available at StorytellingArts.org in January 2020.