Wordless Wednesday, or, “They Call Me Madame Walker!”

Madame CJ Walker, born in 1867, the daughter of former slaves from rural Louisiana, a poverty-stricken 7-year-old orphan who worked the cotton fields of Mississippi, later a 14-year-old bride, 17-year-old mother and 20-year-old widow–and in spite of her previous pedigree, lived the ultimate Horatio Alger story  to become America’s first self-made woman millionaire.

Sarah Breedlove as she was known before the world came to “know” her, is credited (some historians will assert that Marjorie Joyner was the true originator–perhaps a “The Recovering Attorney History Minute” is in order for Madame Joyner) with creating the Black hair care and cosmetic industries–forever “altering” the way Black people across the diaspora groom and style their hair.  Her efforts, confidence, tenacity, and endurance made her a trailblazer and a force to be reckoned with.  And love her “hair altering” hustle or not, she has certainly earned a place in American history.  For not only did she create what is  a present day billion dollar industry, she amassed generational wealth, became a  national leader, a society maven, philanthropist; patron and cultivator of the arts.

Where Madame CJ Walker left off, her daughter, the Harlem Renaissance socialite, A’Lelia, triumphantly and with grace picked up the mantle in high style, conspicuous consumption, and with literary flourish.  More on A’Lelia in a later post.  But for now, let us take a peep inside the early 20th century world of one Madame CJ Walker.  And yes.  There is ALWAYS a Harlem connection!



1.  Villa Lewaro, Irvington, NY, country estate of Madame Walker, designed by Vertner W. Tandy, New York State’s first Black registered architect, circa 1919

2.  Pool, Villa Lewaro

3.  Villa, today, asking price upwards of 6 million dollars

4.  Villa, 1919 

5.  Villa, today

6.  Villa, today

7.   Villa, today

8.  Villa, today

9.  Villa, today

10.  Villa, “Walker Agents, ” 1919

11.  Harlem Townhouse (and personal residence) with adjoining Salon, 136th Street and Lenox Avenue, circa 1900s

12.  Interior, Harlem Townhouse

13.  Harlem Townhouse

14.  Bedroom, Harlem Townhouse

15.  Harlem Townhouse, Madame’s car and driver

16.  Salon, Harlem Townhouse

17.  Early Manufacturing Plant

18.  Walker Salon

19.  Walker Manufacturing Building, 1930

COPYRIGHT 2011.  The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm).  All Rights Reserved.  And I will sue.  Ha!


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