Timeline Description: The first self-made millionaire female in America, Madam Walker developed a successful line of hair and beauty products for black women. Her company, the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company has since been taken over by her daughter.
|December 23, 1867||Sarah was born.
Sarah Breedlove was born in Delta, Louisiana. Her parents, Owen and Minerva were sharecroppers. She had one older sister and four older brothers. All of them, including her parents, were slaves on the Madison Parish plantation. Sarah was born after the Emancipation Proclamation and was free.
|1872||Sarah’s mother died.
Sarah’s mother passed away when Sarah was only five. She died from cholera and her father remarried, but died shortly after.
After her parents’ deaths, Sarah lived with her oldest sister. She met and Married Moses McWilliams at the age of fourteen to escape abuse by her brother-in-law.
|1884||Sarah and Moses had a baby.
Lelia McWilliams (A’Lelia Walker) was born to Moses and Sarah.
|1886||Moses passed away.
When Sarah was twenty and her daughter was only two, Moses died. Sarah and her daughter moved to St. Louis where three of her brothers lived and worked as barbers. Sarah got a job as a washperson, earning a dollar a day so her daughter could get an education.
|1904||Began selling hair care products.
Sarah began to experience hair loss, which made her interested in hair care and products. She became a commissioned agent for Annie Malone, African hair care entrepreneur.
Sarah married Charles Joseph Walker, who taught her about advertising and promotion. Sarah left her daughter in charge of the mail order business while she and her husband traveled the U.S. to expand the business.
|1917||Sarah’s first convention.
Sarah held the first conference of the Madam Walker Beauty Culturists in Philadelphia. There, she stressed the significance of philanthropy and political activism. Sarah was more than a beauty consultant.
|1917||Sarah built her family a house.
She commissioned the first licensed black architect in New York to design her Hudson home. The house cost $250,000.
|1918||Sarah was acknowledged by the NAACP.
After joining the organization, Sarah was acknowledged for making the largest contribution to save the Anacostia, house of Frederick Douglass.
|1918||Sarah made a significant donation to NAACP.
Madam Walker pledged $50,000 to the organization anti-lynching fund.
|1918||Sarah wrote her will.
Sarah left 2/3 of future net profits and her estate to charity.
|May 25, 1919||Sarah passed away.
Madam Walker died from complications of hypertension. She was 51 and the wealthiest African-American woman in America. Madam CJ Walker was more than a beauty consultant. She was a philanthropist and an activist as well.