Sarah Breedlove McWilliams Walker

Sarah Walker who came to be known as Madame C.J. Walker was born into poverty--the daughter of former slaves who subsisted as sharecroppers. Widowed early and a single parent, Walker moved to St, Louis, supporting herself and her child as a washerwoman. She began her business in 1905 developing her own line of treatments for African American hair. Walker developed hair pomades, shampoos and hair straighteners in wash tubs using kitchen tools. She packaged her products with her own face on the labels and marketed a method of hair care bearing her name. She soon had her own company hiring other women who went from door to door selling her products. Walker centers were soon established widely throughout the South. Her personal fortune eventually reached the millions an she became as well-known for her business acumen as for her social activities. Sarah Breedlove Walker died in 1919.

Cherokee Grandma Spider Steals the Sun


"Madame C.J. Walker: Cosmetics Tycoon" by A'Lelia Walker Msvolume 12, July 1983, pp.91-94
Black Stars: African American Women Scientists and Inventors by Otha Richard Sullivan (John Wiley, 2002) pp. 25-30

Web Sites:

Madame C.J. Walker
Beauty Mogul
Madame C.J. Walker
Madame Walker's Home