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Self Made: the real story of Madam CJ Walker, America’s first black female millionaire

Black Women in History

Self Made: the real story of Madam CJ Walker, America’s first black female millionaire

By Rachel Dinning via

When Self Made – a new Netflix series starring Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer – premieres on 20 March, millions of people around the world will likely hear Madam CJ Walker’s name for the first time. We caught up with Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles, to discover the real story behind the woman dubbed the wealthiest self-made woman in America

“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations… I have built my own factory on my own ground.”

– Madam CJ Walker (July 1912)

The life of Sarah Breedlove (1867–1919) – who later became known as Madam CJ Walker – is a true ‘rags-to-riches’ story. She was the first person in her family to be born after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, on the Louisiana plantation where her parents and older siblings were previously enslaved. By the time she died, at the age of 51, she was living in a mansion a…

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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