“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.”- Madame C.J. Walker
Madame C.J. Walker’s life was the rags to riches story poor Blacks across the world dream about. Many believe her biggest contribution to Black women was the creation of the straightening comb, but, in actuality, she created a line of hair products (including the popular Wonderful Hair Grower) that she sold door to door for over a year. Madam Walker was undoubtedly a hustler for Black women. A true entrepreneur in the hair care industry.
To me, Walker’s hair care line wasn’t her greatest contribution; it was her sticktoitiveness that lead our people to greatness. When White America said Blacks weren’t capable she said we were. When White America said women were incompetent and couldn’t compete, she said we can. She serves as inspiration to all who aspire to be more and have more.
Walker silently taught us that we didn’t have to wait for our oppressors to give us wages, we can create our own stream of revenue. She illustrated that Blacks could build a successful business with an all Black consumer base.
She was a prime example that you don’t need formal education to become a remarkable success, Inspiration, or role model. Madame C.J. Walker was more than just hair—she was proof that Black women are far more than meets the eye.