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Women's History Month: Women in Business

March is Women's History Month. Explore and celebrate the contributions of women with this guide.

Movers and Shakers

Entrepreneur, Madam C. J. Walker


Madam C. J. WalkerMadam C. J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 was not only was she the first female self-made millionaire in America, but also the first Black women with such a status.  She created an empire for Black women's hair care band beauty, including conditioners, to ease styling, stimulate hair growth and cure common scalp ailments, as well as improving a metal comb for straightening curly hair.  Walker developed her first hair product in 1904 after experiencing hair loss due to alopecia.  In 1906 she moved to Colorado and founded her company.  Later the company expanded to produce beauty and toiletry items.  As you can imagine, she was not allowed to sell her products in traditional retail establishments and began by selling her products door to door, first locally and then through the South and Southeast.  Eventually, her products were made available throughout the United States and eventually to the Caribbean and Central America.

"Madame C. J. Walker." Contemporary Black Biography, vol. 7, Gale, 1994. Gale In Context: Biography, Accessed 21 Feb. 2021.

"Walker Becomes First Female Self-Made Millionaire in America." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History, edited by Thomas Riggs, 2nd ed., vol. 3, Gale, 2015, pp. 1429-1430. Gale In Context: Biography, Accessed 21 Feb. 2021.

Notable Women in Business

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