#BlackHistoryFacts | Madam C.J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove (1867-1919), was an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and civil rights activist. Walker, the child of sharecroppers, became ofirst American women to become a self-made millionaire with her creation of specialized products for black hair. After suffering from a scalp ailment that resulted in the loss of most of her hair, she developed and began selling Madam C.J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower, a scalp conditioning and healing formula, in 1905. Showcasing a savvy business acumen, Walker promoted her products by traveling around the country for over a year selling her products door to door and giving demonstrations of her products. A few years later, she built her own factory, a beauty salon, and a training school in Indianapolis. Walker was also known for her philanthropic endeavors, including donating $1000 toward the construction of an Indianapolis "colored" YMCA in 1913. At the time of her death in 1919, Walker's company was valued at $1 million dollars. Today, her company, now called the Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture, continues her black beauty culture legacy in the 21st Century. In 1998, the United States Postal Service issued a Madam C.J. Walker stamp as part of its "Black Heritage" series.