Madam C.J. Walker the First Self-Made Female Millionaire

An entrepreneur, philanthropist, and civil rights activist can make for a very important person.


502nd Air Base Wing

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Black History Month dates back to 1915. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the ASALH and Black History Month, chose the month of February for the observance because it includes the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Tommy Brown/Released)

By Kyler Telge, Staff Writer

Not originally known as C.J. Walker but Sarah Breedlove this African American woman went on to pioneer a business focused on African American hair care products.

Using her wealth as a valuable resource for success and progress not only did she accomplish some remarkable things but she gave back to people and fought for others.

Some things she accomplished include:

  • In 1913 Walker donated some of her wealth to the construction of a YMCA in Indianapolis.
  • As a civil rights activist, Walker was part of a group that traveled to the White House to petition Woodrow Wilson, the president during 1917, to make lynching a federal crime.
  • Walker was the sole owner of her business valued at more than $1 million right before she died. ($1,000,000 in 1919 had about as much power as $14,940,848.48 in 2018)
  • After meeting the founder of Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute, McLeod Bethune Walker led a fundraiser and donated over $5,000 herself to keep the school open and even expand it.
  • She even started her own college, named Lelia College, focused on training black women how to be hairstylists.
  • This woman was truly remarkable and deserves recognition for how much work she put towards progress.