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Biographies Unit Biographies

Madame C.J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) 1867-1919
The First Female African American Millionaire

Sarah Breedlove grew up in Louisiana about 150 years ago. She worked washing clothes for others. The chemicals that she used were not good for her skin and hair. Breedlove made a mixture to make her hair healthy. Her family and friends loved it. Breedlove began selling her hair products.

Later, Breedlove became known as Madame C.J. Walker. Her little business grew into the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. Walker and other women traveled around the southern and eastern United States selling her products. By 1917, Walker's company was the largest African-American-owned business in the country. Walker became the first African American millionaire. She is remembered for more than her hair care. Walker used her money to help African American schools and businesses.

Comprehension Check

In what way did Madame C.J. Walker use her money to help other people?

Critical Thinking

Why do you think Walker's business was a success?