Sarah Breedlove … Millionaire 12/23/1867

This Child of Slaves Grew Up to Become America’s First Female Millionaire

Random Celebrity Article By on October 20, 2014


America is considered to be the “land of opportunity”. Historically, it’s the country people have run to in order to escape persecution, poor living conditions, or lack of opportunities somewhere else. However, for the large number of African people stolen from their homes, shipped across the Atlantic, and sold into slavery, America was anything but a land of opportunity. So it’s pretty darn incredible that America’s first female self-made millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker, was the child of former slaves. Her story is one of perseverance, ingenuity, and triumph. If her amazing life doesn’t make you want to get off your butt and go make your dreams happen, than nothing will.

Madam C.J. Walker, also known as Sarah Breedlove, was born on December 23, 1867, just outside of Delta, Louisiana. She was born on the cotton plantation where her family had been enslaved. She held the distinction of being the first free-born child in the family. The youngest of five, she was the first person in her family born after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. However, by age 7, she was orphan. Both of her parents passed away within a year of each other. Their cause of death was not recorded. She was sent to live with her older sister in Mississippi, where it is believed she worked picking cotton and doing housework. Her life in Mississippi was anything but ideal, and though slavery had technically been abolished, most people in the South had yet to “get the memo”, as it were. She worked the same hours she would have worked as a slave and was paid a pittance. Then, she and her family members had to pay exorbitant fees to live in the very same shack that her sister had lived in while she was a slave. Making matters worse, was that her brother-in-law was physically abusive. Eventually, she couldn’t take it anymore. At 14, she married a man named Moses McWilliams, mostly in an effort to get away from her current living situation.


The pair had a baby in 1885. Two years later, Moses passed away, and Sarah and her daughter A’Lelia moved to St. Louis to be closer to Sarah’s older brothers. Her brothers had found some success working as barbers. In St. Louis, she began working as a washerwoman. Her pay was only $1.50 per day. She used the majority of the money to pay for her daughter’s schooling, and also took whatever classes she could herself. She subsequently met and married Charles J. Walker. Mr. Walker worked in advertising and their relationship would prove to be a fortuitous one.

Due to a severe scalp condition, most likely caused by the lye-based products used to straighten her hair, Sarah Breedlove had begun to lose her hair in bunches. Whenever she had a spare moment in her kitchen, she began making her own hair care products, and experimenting with ways to treat her own scalp. A black woman named Annie Turnbo Malone heard about Sarah. Ms. Malone made and marketed her own line of African-American hair care products. She invited Sarah to come work for her as a commission agent. So Sarah, Charles, and A’Lelia relocated to Denver, Colorado and launched a hair care business under Ms. Malone. At the urging of her husband, Sarah changed her professional name to Madam C.J. Walker, and launched her business in earnest. Between her genuinely effective and well-made products and her husband’s advertising acumen, her business grew by leaps and bounds. The couple spent much of the early 1900s, traveling around selling her products all over the south. By 1908, she was able to go out on her own. She opened a factory and her own beauty school in Pittsburgh.


The company continued to grow, so Sarah, now Madam C.J., moved operations to Indianapolis. She began training a group of employees who were both salespeople and beauticians. Known as “Walker Agents“, these African-American entrepreneurs began selling her products all over the United States. She began sponsoring conventions, sales awards, and community events. She and her husband divorced in 1913, and rather than slowing her down, it seemed to galvanize her. She traveled to the Caribbean and Latin America, adding more and more “Walker Agents” to her roster and increasing her sales base. By this time, her daughter A’Lelia, had begun to take charge of some portions of operations. A’Lelia purchased prime real estate in Harlem and made it the new base of operations for Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing. As more responsibility was shifted to her daughter, Madam C.J. Walker began focusing on philanthropy and community improvement. She created scholarship funds, sponsored the building and maintenance of multiple homes for the elderly, donated large sums to both the NAACP and the National Conference on Lynching, and, in 1913, donated the largest amount of money by an African-American to the Indianapolis YMCA.


She built a home in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York sometime around 1916 or 1917, and passed away there in 1919, due to hypertension. She was 51 years old. She was the sole owner of Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing for most of its existence, and the company was worth over $1 million when she died. Additionally, she was worth close to $700,000 herself, separate from the company. That’s the equivalent of $13 million in today’s dollars. It was an astronomical amount in 1919.

At the time of her death in 1919, Madam C.J. Walker was the wealthiest African-American in the United States. She was also generally believed to the country’s first self-made female multi-millionaire. Assuming her net worth was approximately $2 million the year she died, that would be equivalent to $37 million today.



When she died, her will dictated that 2/3 of all future company profits be donated to charity from that point on. One third of her estate went to her daughter. Her home in Irvington-on-Hudson is now a registered landmark, and the arts center named after her in Indianapolis, the Walker Center, has become nationally famous.

Madam C.J. Walker, aka Sarah Breedlove, went from absolutely nothing, to wealthier than just about everyone else around her. Along the way, she made sure to give back to the community that supported her, and trained hundreds of “Walker Agents” about entrepreneurship, civic duty, and pride. She proved to an entire generation of African-Americans, many of whom had grown up enslaved, that success was possible. Historically and socially, the example she set has proven far more valuable than her millions of dollars.

#IAMTROYDAVIS – Black History

NAACPTwo years ago, in the final hours of his life, I sat with Troy Davis and talked with him as we fought to stop his execution. He made me promise then that, no matter the outcome, the NAACP would remain resolute in the fight against the death penalty.
Dedicate your tears to healing this world and your prayers to ending the death penalty. America must do better than this. And your deeds and actions will help get us there.
Friends : We wage this critical fight in Troy’s name. Last year, our work led to Connecticut repealing the death penalty. This year, Maryland became the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line to do the same. Those two states now join New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, and Illinois as the fifth and sixth states in six years to abolish the death penalty.
Troy Davis’ legacy serves as a reminder that our justice system will remain broken until the death penalty is abolished across the country. Today, our community is uniting to send a powerful message on the anniversary of Troy Davis’ execution, and we want you to be a part of it.
Tweet our message using the hashtag #IamTroyDavis to support ending capital punishment in America.
Or write a message of your own.
Our message is simple: We must bring an end to this immoral, biased, and ineffective practice and the inequalities that plague our justice system.
It is appalling that the barbaric practice of capital punishment still exists in the United States. Even more so when you consider how easily a man was condemned to die in the face of overwhelming evidence pointing to his innocence.
We’re making progress, Carmen.
We must keep this miscarriage of justice in the hearts and minds of the public if we are to continue moving forward. Help by sending a tweet using the hashtag #IamTroyDavis on today’s solemn anniversary:

Thank you,
Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
PS: Next week, join Troy’s family on the I Am Troy Davis book tour. Visit the NAACP website for more details.

Cop calls girl a cunt &shoots … Arisha Michelle Hatch, Color Of Change – a repost

This LAPD cop shot at a 13-year-old boy.

This cop should be arrested.

The cop needs to be arrested. Not the children he terrorized.



Orange County is proving to the world once again that police are above the law. 

Yesterday, a video surfaced online showing an off-duty LAPD officer forcefully grabbing and dragging 13-year-old Christian Dorscht, after he stood up for a girl the officer called a “cunt” and yelled to get off of his lawn.1 When other teens watching and filming try to help Christian, the officer pulled out his gun and fired a shot into the crowd–almost shooting the 13-year-old. If that isn’t upsetting enough, what happens next is even worse: when police show up, they let the officer–who still hasn’t been identified–walk free, but arrest Christian and another 15-year-old boy with charges of “battery and terrorist threats.” It’s a combination of white vigilante and police violence terror–and it’s horrifying.

Hundreds of people poured into the street last night in protest to demand the officer be charged.2 The Anaheim Police Department posted a statement that they are working on an investigation–but the power rests with the District Attorney’s office. And technically, after an investigation, the DA’s office could still charge the children that were terrorized on that day. That’s why we’re demanding that Orange County DA, Tony Rackauckas, immediately indict the officer–and refuse to prosecute any of the children involved. Will you sign the petition?

Tell the Orange County DA: Indict the LAPD officer. Not the children he terrorized.

In the video, Christian can be  heard pleading “stop grabbing me” and “I didn’t do anything to hurt you, all I said was respect a girl.” Then the cop responds, “you said you were going to shoot me.”3 Christian protests, “I didn’t say that, I said I’m going to sue you. Why are you lying?” as the off-duty officer grabs him roughly, dragging him across the lawn. That is how Christian Dorscht got nabbed with charges of “terrorist threats.” While the charges have been dropped, the District Attorney could file more at any given time–but we can’t let that happen.

District Attorney Rackauckas is vulnerable to public pressure right now. He’s up for re-election in 2018 and is already being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for illegal use of informants to deny fair trials.4 Right now a lot of the anger is being directed to the LAPD and Anaheim Police Department, but if we can direct that righteous anger towards Rackauckas, we can make it so he doesn’t have a choice but to stand on the right side of justice.

Police aren’t above the law. Demand an indictment now.

The fact that anyone, let alone a police officer, can shoot a gun at children who posed no threat and walk free while unarmed kids are arrested is an outrage–but not surprising. Over the past four years, since the killing of Trayvon Martin, we have seen hundreds of videos just like this. And hundreds of police officers have walked free. But while the idea of what “justice” means in this country has gotten weaker, our movement has gotten stronger.  

Trump’s administration has been threatening to embolden police and make it even easier for them to literally get away with murder.5 We can count on him, together with his white nationalist friends the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) to make good on that promise–but that’s why we’ve got to resist even harder. When we can’t count on federal officials to achieve justice, holding local officials–like District Attorneys–responsible for fighting back is how we will win.

The Orange County District Attorney is accountable to the people, not the forces that want to protect killer cops. So, let’s make sure DA Tony Rackauckas has no choice but to respond to the voices of the people–or face us in 2018.

Sign the petition.

Until justice is real,

–Arisha, Rashad, Scott, Clarise, Enchanta, Anay, Malaya, and the rest of the Color Of Change team


1. “Father of boy nearly shot by off-duty cop in Anaheim:’This is not right,'” Fusion, 03-23-2017

2. “300 protest in Anaheim after videos show off-duty officer firing gun in dispute with teens,” LA Times, 03-23-2017

4. “Federal authorities investigate O.C. district attorney over jailhouse informants,” LA Times, 12-15-2016

5. “Trump Launches ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Regime with Three New Executive Orders on Law Enforcement,” Democracy Now, 02-10-2017