Madame CJ Walker 

Image on a piece of public art at Chicago State University. Photo courtesy of LevoisJ via Flickr

For years her family had been slaves, people whose fate had already been sealed, but Sarah Breedlove was born free. She was the first child in her family to be given the chance to create her own destiny. She took that chance and ran with it. Three marriages by the age of 43 left her still single, but with a new name: Madame CJ Walker. It was with this name that she would create a hair care empire to help women who, like herself, were losing their hair due to the poor hair care standards of the day. More than save women’s hair though, she also helped improve their lives by offering them good jobs in sales and contributing to black philanthropies. While accomplishing all that she also managed to become the first black millionaire by her mid 40’s. Proof that greatness sometimes comes from the most humble of beginnings.

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