Madame C.J. Walker Essay

1487 words - 6 pages

The Life and Times of Madame C.J. WalkerNot many women were known as wealthy or well-known in the late 1800's. In fact, if you were black it would have been more difficult for you to want to achieve your dreams. There were many women who tried and tried to be successful and prove to people that women could actually become something. But in the 1890's, one black women was able to be successful in something that she wanted to achieve. I intend to prove that Madame C.J. Walker was the first African American woman entrepreneur who stressed that hygiene and personal appearance were cornerstones of self-respect.On December 23, 1867, Sarah Breedlove was born on a cotton plantation in Delta, Louisiana. She was orphaned at seven during a yellow fever epidemic and moved with her sister to Vicksburg, Mississippi. At the age of 14 she married Moses McWilliams and had a daughter, A' Leila Walker. Two years later, Moses died. When McWilliams died, Sarah traveled to St. Louis where she heard a laundress could make higher wages. Since she was a laundress she believed that while in the process of raising her daughter, she could support herself by being a laundress and attending night school.(Women in World History) For her spare time Sarah joined the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church. By befriending other members from the Church and the National Association of Colored Women, she viewed the world in a different way. "This is the greatest country under the sun," she said. "But we must not let our love of country, our patriotic loyalty cause us to abate one whit in our protest against wrong and injustice. We should protest until the America sense of justice is so aroused that such affairs as the East St. Louis riot be forever impossible."(madamecjwalker.com)Sarah took pride in her personal appearance. She believed that as a laundrywoman, she should wear presentable clothing to advertise her skills. Her inspiration was Margaret Murray Washington, Booker T. Washington's' wife. In time, Sarah noticed that the hardships of her life and work had done some damage to her body. What inspired Sarah to make more of her looks was when she saw Margaret Washington dressed in silk and lace with her beautiful hair."(Women in World History)The late 19th century was a time in which people had an image of pretty girls with long beautiful hair, which few women of any race could hardly achieve. When the 1890's came around, Sarah got a scalp ailment that caused her to lose most of her hair. As an agent for selling hair products for Annie Malone's Pro Company, Sarah was disappointed in the way the products worked. It was at this time that she began experimenting with homemade remedies and store-brought products, which included those made by Annie Malone. (madamecjwalker.com) Causes of this hair loss were caused by poor diet, stress, damaging hair treatments, dandruff, and other scalp diseases. (Black Women in America). Between the years of 1900 and 1905, Sarah developed her own...

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