Madam C. J. Walker

Birth Name: Sarah Breedlove

Date of Birth: December 23, 1867

Place of Birth: Delta, Fifth Military District, Louisiana, U.S.

Date of Death: May 25, 1919

Place of Death: Irvington, New York, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American

Madam C. J. Walker was an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist. She is usually considered to be the first American female millionaire, who was not wealthy by birth or marriage.

She made her fortune with her Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, of cosmetics and hair care products, mostly for black women.

Madam C. J. was the daughter of Minerva (Anderson) and Owen Breedlove. Her older siblings were enslaved by Robert W. Burney, on the Madison Parish plantation. Madam C. J. was the first of her parents’ children born into freedom, after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Madam C. J. was married to Moses McWilliams, until his death, and later to Charles Joseph Walker, whose name she carried, fully as “Mrs. Charles Joseph Walker.” She had a daughter, businessperson and arts patron A’Lelia Walker, with Moses. Her great-great-granddaughter is journalist, news producer, and author A’Lelia Bundles.

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