On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker
by A‚ÄôLelia Bundles
The daughter of formerly enslaved parents, Sarah Breedlove‚Äîwho would become known as Madam C. J. Walker‚Äîwas orphaned at seven, married at fourteen, and widowed at twenty. She spent the better part of the next two decades laboring as a washerwoman for $1.50 a week. Then‚Äîwith the discovery of a revolutionary hair care formula for black women‚Äîeverything changed.
By her death in 1919, Walker managed to overcome astonishing odds: building a storied beauty empire from the ground up, amassing wealth unprecedented among black women, and devoting her life to philanthropy and social activism. Along the way, she formed friendships with great early-twentieth-century political figures such as Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington.