Madam C.J. Walker – The Original Wealthy Woman

wealthy woman highlights Madam C.J. Walker

Who is she?

Madam C.J. Walker was an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist.

She is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America.

Madam C.J. Walker’s Story

Sarah Breedlove (her original name) was born in 1867. Her parents were freed slaves and Sarah was the first child in her family born into freedom after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. She was orphaned at the age of 7. She moved to Mississippi at age 10 and began working as a domestic servant.

She had only three months of formal education, which she learned during Sunday school literacy lessons at a church.

In 1906, Sarah married Charles Joseph Walker, and through this marriage became known as Madam C.J. Walker (though they divorced 6 years later).

Alone with one child, she was determined to provide formal education for her daughter.

She also suffered from severe dandruff and scalp problems. So, she learned hair care from her brothers (who were barbers). She then began working for a hair care company that largely ignored the African American community.

Over time, she developed her own product line and hair care business, selling door-to-door and teaching black women how to groom and style their hair. Walker’s business spread across the United States and she trained nearly 20,000 women as leaders and sales agents. She advocated education and financial independence for these women.

5 Incredible Quotes from C.J. Walker

“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”

Sarah faced many disadvantages, but she wouldn’t let that stop her.

“There would be no hair growing business today had I not started it.”

Ideas are amazing. But you can do nothing if you never start.

“I am not satisfied in making money for myself. I endeavor to provide employment for hundreds of the women of my race.”

It wasn’t only about her and her daughter. She gave generously to causes and helped thousands of women through her business.

“America doesn’t respect anything but money. What our people need is a few millionaires.”

“I am not ashamed of my past. I am not ashamed of my humble beginning.”

Her Best Advice to Her Younger Self

She famously said, “I got my start by giving myself a start.”

Walker made a big bet and persevered until it worked. Bet on yourself and have the confidence to see it through.


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