The mere fact that the world celebrates Black History Month shows everyone how far we’ve come in breaking down racial barriers. The idea is to show everyone how colour and lifestyle barriers were smashed and paved the black community to rightfully play their part and make their mark in the world. There many so many figures who deserve to be highly spoken of but right now we’re going to focus one seriously sassy and determined lady who made life work for her after the abolition of slavery.
Madam CJ Walker
Born in the Louisiana Delta in 1867, Madam CJ Walker – formerly Sarah Breedlove – was born to former slaves. Her introduction to life came two years after the civil war ended. Unfortunately CJ and her were orphaned at the age of 7 and forced to work the cotton fields in order to make ends meet. However, this only served to enforce her determination to overcome adversity. CJ Walker became the first black woman to become a self-made millionaire. Her story is so thrilling and unique that it has been the focus of studies at Harvard Business School. It was not an easy road for her at all but she persevered and has become an icon not only for Black History Month, but in life for everyone regardless of colour.
At the age of 14 CJ met her husband and they had a daughter together. Sadly her spouse passed away shortly after her daughter was born, so CJ moved to St Louis to work for her brothers who owned a successful barber shop. After moving to the city CJ was found to have scalp condition which meant she lost most of her hair. Trying various products she eventually found one made by Anne Malone, another black history month member. The product proved to be exactly with CJ required for her mane and she decided to move to Denver and sell Annie’s products. She moved back to St Louis, married again and started creating her own hair conditioner. Her product proved to be a huge success and she developed plenty of other serums that assisted with problem skins and scalps. She eventually started travelling all over the country giving demonstrations. This seriously brilliant black lady become a huge success and in 1908 she opened a school to train ladies to sell her wares, which now included vegetable shampoos and cosmetics.
Over 100 years down the line Madam CJ Walker still enters our lives every day and many of you don’t even know it. Black History Month is about celebrating and educating. Does “Avon calling” ring a bell for you? Surprised? How is that for an education?
Vida Denning enjoys writing on a wide variety of topics and found that she learned a lot about history when she worked at a serviced office Spain and so much about culture at her time in serviced offices Hong Kong.