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Madam C.J. Walker
Entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker was the first black American woman millionaire. She was born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, to former slaves on a Louisiana cotton plantation. In 1906 she married Charles Joseph Walker, who became her business partner. Madam Walker had developed her own line of hair care products for black women. Business boomed and Madam Walker became well known to black and white Americans as she traveled the country to market her products, speak at conventions and donate to organizations like the NAACP and the YMCA. Her company made economic independence a reality for the many black women she hired. When Madam C.J. Walker died in 1919, she left thousands of dollars to schools, orphanages, the Tuskegee Institute, retirement homes and other organizations.

Image: Courtesy of Indiana Historical Society Library